iPhone Life magazine

Review: Teething by William Robinson

Retro seems to be a popular thing on the iOS platform, and Teething does a great job of personifying that mentality.  Between the pixilated graphics, bouncy chip tunes and simple game play I feel like I’m delving into a first generation NES game or maybe even an LED marvel with supped up aesthetics.  Either way it’s an amusing game to play, at least for a while.  I’m just afraid that without much fluff it won’t have any staying power.

Psychadelic
 

You control a tooth, and you must move it back and forth to avoid all the nasty candy that’s falling from the sky.  You can do it the “old fashioned” way using buttons on the screen, or you can opt for the accelerometer to tilt your way to victory.  Personally, I found the tilt control very stubborn so I’ve ended up choosing buttons for my preferred method.  Other than that you have no direct control over anything.

Power ups are activated when you collect the gold crown (clever), and health is restored by letting toothpaste fall on you.  Beware the deadly toothpaste cap, however, as it will temporarily stun you and let the awful treats have their way with you.  After too many hits you lose a life, and when all three lives are gone it’s game over.  I don’t know of any way at this point to earn extra lives.

Disguises
 

You collect coins each time you play, and those coins can be used to buy one of four silly moustaches that you can equip your tooth with.  Unfortunately, the disguises and your high score are really the only perks to the game.  At the very least this game needs some social network integration or more items to buy or both.  Beyond that, it really needs something else to do.  I’m all for retro to an extent, but one thing I’ve learned from playing many attempts at recapturing the “old days” is that there’s a reason game play has evolved over the years.  I just feel like in it’s current state, I won’t be playing Teething more than a few minutes at a time and even then probably not very often.

The aesthetics are a different story.  The graphics are pixilated enough that the game feels old school, but not so much that the visuals aren’t interesting.  I love how the character decays as it gets pummeled with candy, and the fact that your lives are represented by three teeth at the top of the mouth that fall out as you die is neat.  The sound effects have a vintage arcade vibe to them.  As for the music, I can’t decide if it’s more first generation console or 80s PC shareware.  Either way I dig it, especially when it changes for some of the power ups.

Pennies From Heaven
 

In the end, Teething isn’t a bad game.  It just sort of exemplifies the fact that some retro is too retro.  The game looks great and sounds pretty good, and in the beginning it’s quite entertaining.  After a while, though, it really begins to lose its luster.  Some more game play modes, an expanded shop and social network interaction would go a long way towards making this game retro but sustainable.

Overall Score: 6/10
App Store Link

This game was reviewed on an iPod Touch 4 running iOS 5.1.1.

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Eric Pankoke has been a gamer for more than 20 years. He began with arcade games, moving to consoles and eventually handhelds and Pocket PCs. Now he spends most of his time on one of his iOS devices. Eric has written more than 700 gaming reviews, which have appeared on a number of gaming websites as well as several issues of both Smartphone & Pocket PC and iPhone Life magazines. He regularly contributes to iphonelife.com and TouchMyApps. Ultimately he hopes to eventually develop games himself for whatever the hot mobile device is when he finally gets moving.