I used to write reviews for iPhone and iPod Touch games for a now defunct website. It has been a year since I did any review like this but I decided to try my hand at it again. Welcome to the first edition of Touch It! on Bitmob. Hopefully it won't be the last.
The Incident (iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad)
Developed by Big Bucket Software
Released on August 10, 2010 (US)
A lot of puzzle games are based on the systematic organization of objects. Tetris will try to fill your screen with blocks as you clear rows and rows of them before they fill the screen, and Bejeweled will keep on filling the screen with gems no matter how much you align. Maybe a feverish nightmare following an intense Tetris session fueled the inspiration of the guys behind Big Bucket Software’s game The Incident. You are stuck in the screen and it is filling with junk, but all you can do is climb the pile higher and higher. Truly the organized person’s nightmare.
The Incident puts you in the shoes of what seams to be an average working class dude. After being nearly crushed by a falling taxi, our poor avatar is stuck in an improbable doomsday scenario: random objects of many shapes and origins are falling from the sky, threatening to burrow our hero alive.
As you tilt your device left and right and touch the screen to make your avatar jump, random objects are going to fall down the screen. Thankfully, a radar will announce where the next object will fall. The trick though is that the radar will only indicate the superficies the object will cover as it falls — a small white spot could indicate a potted plant as well a huge upright propeller. Objects can also be moved around and flipped over if you happen to get stuck under them. Different kinds of power-ups and power-down will also come at you from the bottom of the screen in floating balloons, making the player focus on all three levels at the same time.
I am usually wary of games using the iPhone’s motion sensor in order to control the avatar. Most of the time the sensor won’t be precise enough and your avatar will never quite do what you want him to do. Somehow, The Incident manages to avoid this issue. The game is less about the precision of your movements and more about making quick changes of direction to avoid falling objects. The simple controls makes this game easy to learn but the ramping difficulty balanced by the speed and shapes of the falling objects, as well as the spawn frequency of the annoying curse balloons that takes one unit of life away, is still making this game quite challenging in the later levels.
When it comes to the art style, Big Bucket Games decided to go for the good old retro style. The game is made of colorful sprites and there is a huge variety of objects only waiting to crush you. The backgrounds are well made if a little bland for certain levels. The music is going for the same retro vibe, but I personally found it to be a little repetitive, although it does capture the stress and urgency of the situation. By both filling your ears and your eyes with stressing music and bright objects, the game itself is trying to put you in the shoes of your avatar.
With its simple controls and retro art direction, The Incident is a good looking and challenging time-waster — and I say that in the most loving way possible. It’s easy to pick up and play for a few minutes on the bus, but the difficulty ramps up well enough that you will find yourself taking the bus longer than usual, as you try to make it to the next checkpoint before being crushed by a pile of junk. Like I said, truly the organized person’s nightmare.