Have you ever tried to buy a toy from one of those machines in the front of a grocery store only to have it get stuck or refuse to come out of the machine at all? If you’ve ever wondered what happens to the toy as it’s making its way to the delivery spout, Cling! ($0.99) is here to answer those questions for you. Get ready to take on the journey of one ambitious octopus with sticky legs as it tries to make its way to freedom and the hands of a boy who will love it for at least a few minutes before losing it. Just make sure to bring your nerves of steel with you, because some of the levels in this game will demand it.
Cling is billed as the iOS platform’s first “peg”-former, and that’s probably a fair statement given that you only have direct control over the toy when one or more of its legs are attached to the pegs strewn throughout each level. Of course if you think this game is going to be a walk in the park as long as you stick to the pegs, you’re sadly mistaken.
First of all, there’s no park to be found anywhere in this game. Second, there are plenty of obstacles to make sure even the peggiest path isn’t easy to traverse. It doesn’t help that even the pegs turn on you, as eventually some of them will repel you while others are okay for your legs to touch, but deadly if your body comes in contact with them.
Other obstacles include blocks that fry you on contact, clamps that only hold onto you as long as you’re touching the screen, and various background tiles that do things like increase your speed, slow you down, or “guide” your general movement. Any one of these things can be detrimental or downright deadly when not used appropriately or avoided. Stick several of them together in the same level and you better have a third hand to pull out some hair while you’re playing! Each level has a three medal ranking system, but there are times when you’re so happy to just pass a level, you might not go back to try and get that gold. There are also some levels with hats and gumdrops to collect, and all I can say is I’m thankful that once you collect an item you get to keep it even if you die before finishing the level. There are also some levels with checkpoints, and many more you will wish did.
There are two ways to control your toy – you can either have it follow your finger or use a virtual joystick. I’ve tried the joystick three times, and each time I haven’t even lasted one level with it. I suspect, however, that I might be more inclined to use it if I could move it to the other side of the screen. The finger control isn’t awful, but it does seem to lack some precision, and this is definitely a game where precision counts. The gumdrops you collect let you buy different colored toys, new hats, and power ups. The thing is, the toys are pretty expensive and there aren’t many levels that offer gumdrops, so if you want to experience all the frivolities the game has to offer you might need to spend some IAP. There is Game Center support for leader boards and achievements, and you can also brag about your accomplishments on Facebook and Twitter if you're so inclined.
The graphics in Cling are cute. It has a few well-done cut scenes, though I wish there were actually more of them. The characters and objects are well animated, and occasionally you see another ball with a toy in it rolling around the tubes in the background, which is kind of cool. The sound effects are actually pretty decent, and thankfully the most prevalent noise in the game doesn’t get annoying at any point. The music is fun, and each act has its own theme, which is nice.
I’ll admit, I wasn’t quite sure about Cling at first, but it is a pretty fun game. You just have to be ready to accept that you will hate some levels and be extremely glad when they are over. And unless you are extremely skilled or really patient, you probably won’t get a gold medal on every level. The neat thing is that while it might not happen until you’ve actually passed a level, you’ll often realize when you stop and think about it that these levels are really well designed. I wish the controls felt a bit more precise, and it would be nice if there were some more levels where you could collect gumdrops, but overall the game is entertaining and well balanced.
Overall Score: 8/10
This app was reviewed on an iPad 2 running iOS 6.0.1.