Sometimes a sequel to a sub-par game is so close to the original, you wonder why the game developers bothered. Other times, the sequel is so far removed from what made the first one popular that no one cares. Then there are games like G5 Entertainment's Youda Survivor 2 HD (Free, or $6.99 In-app purchase for full game). While mechanically it doesn’t seem much different than its predecessor, it’s so easy to get into and so hard to put down that you won’t care. I’m not sure what makes the style of game play so catchy, but whatever it is, the developers behind the Youda Survivor series have pretty much perfected it.
It’s time to save the villagers again, although this time there's no need to prove yourself as your reputation precedes you. All you have to do is help recover one of the two magical stones that make the island what it is. To accomplish this, you’ll have to traverse plenty of areas to gather resources, fight off bad guys, and ultimately become the warrior the island needs in order to be victorious. While much of my original review applies here as well, I'll recap for you.
Each level has one or more goals, mainly revolving around collecting a certain number items, though sometimes requiring you to raise your health to a certain level or consume a certain number of water potions as well.
The basic chain of goods consists of digging a hole to produce water, which the birds in turn drink to lay eggs. The goats consume the eggs and give you bottles of milk (I really don’t want to know how that process works), and from there you need to start buying machinery to produce more advanced items. You’ll also have a cook to brew potions for you, and after a certain level, a guy who explores caves to gather special items. Initially, buying or upgrading any of these things in the store costs money, which you’ll earn by beating the levels. While you’re playing the game, you’ll often need to buy and/or upgrade multiple items, which will cost you health instead of money.
Whether you earn a bronze, silver, or gold medal for a level depends on how much time it takes you to finish. Besides the time it takes to collect and produce items, things like pirates and scorpions will slow you down by stealing resources or causing the birds to go to sleep because they are afraid. There’s also the challenge of managing everything efficiently to get the most happening at once. And those goats sure can get to eggs more quickly then I can sometimes.
Besides all of this management, you need to watch your health. If it falls to zero you'll pass out and have to start the level over. You also have a water meter, which will cause you to lose health if it falls to zero.
Controlling the game basically requires tapping everywhere. For the most part this is no big deal, but sometimes the screen gets cluttered and it’s hard to tap just what you need. In addition to trying to win a gold medal for each level, you can earn many other achievements. There is also a chest with a dozen or so special awards that showcase your real talent as a tribal leader. And if you feel so inclined, you can post your progress to Facebook at any point thanks to handy post buttons strewn throughout the game.
I don’t think there’s much of an evolution from the original, but the visuals are certainly just as good. Everything is well drawn and nicely animated, and there are plenty of nice touches like machines that churn as they produce goods, or ponds filling up with water after a nice rain. The sound effects are also really well done, though all of the machines sound exactly the same. The music is good, but only one song plays throughout all the levels. Trust me when I say you won’t be paying enough attention for it to bother you, though.
There was a time when I really believed Playfirst ruled time management games, especially with its line of Dash games. Over the last couple of years, however, G5 has built up some healthy competition in this genre, and to date I believe its crowning achievement is the Youda Survivor series. If it has any flaws, they are too negligible to worry about. But more importantly, G5 was able to make a sequel nearly identical to its predecessor, and still managed to make it as addictive, if not more so, than the first. That being said, I wouldn’t mind seeing a bit more variance in Part 3, but as long as G5 makes Part 3, I don’t really care.
Overall Score: 10/10