By Eric Pankoke on Fri, 05/20/2011
Foodies is a physics game that doesn’t look much like other physics games, and in a world filled with games that want to be just like Angry Birds or Cut The Rope, that’s a good thing. It’s even got a novel control mechanic that both makes sense and more often than not works well. There’s even a cute protagonist and an amusing story, for those of you that need either one of those things (or both). My main issue at this point is that there is a fine line between creative and cruel, or challenging and frustrating, and Foodies likes to play on that line quite frequently, even in the lower levels. Oh, and it would be nice to be able to turn the insulting kids off as well.
You play the part of Snacky Sam, whose lady love refuses to be his until he gains some weight – I can assure you this is grounded squarely in the realm of fantasy! At any rate, it’s your job to consume everything you can in an effort to become the rotund Romeo your love wants you to be. You’ll do this by snacking your way through 80 lip smacking levels of delightful goodies. The thing is, this journey won’t be a walk in the park (all that exercise might make you lose weight anyway). Along the way you’ll have everything from annoying walls to Space Invaders rejects trying to stop your progress. Some levels are timed, and others even require you to eat only certain foods and bounce around the others.
Once you’ve completed a level you’ll be ranked on sweets, time and bounces. With time and bounces, the less you use the better your score. I’m not quite sure what determines your sweets ranking, since you have to eat all the treats on a screen before progressing to the next one. One your score is tallied you’ll potentially earn between 1 and 3 candles on your cake. These are based on your overall score for the level, so it’s possible to complete a level without earning a single candle. This is particularly frustrating on levels that you work and work and work at just to pass. They’ve gotten around this somewhat by introducing a “tourist” mode that softens up the scoring based on time and bounces, but I still think it should be a bit easier to obtain the first candle.
The control scheme is rather interesting. You use two fingers to create a trampoline of sorts, and basically bounce Sam around the screen to collect the food. You can drag your fingers around the screen, or simply pick them up and move them to a different location while Sam is in mid-bounce. Because of this freedom you can do things like change trajectory in mid-flight. On the other hand, it seems like there are times where this mechanism proves less than precise, which is kind of essential for many of the levels in the game. Also, if you bounce him into something too many times too quickly you will have to start the level over, and you can also easily knock him off the board (usually on accident), which also means starting the board over.
The graphics in Foodies are decent enough. The highlight of course is Sam, who looks good and is well animated. You can even catch him licking his lips once he’s eaten. There’s also a nice bit of confetti fanfare on the results screen of each level when you get candles in your cake. There’s not a lot in the way of special effects, though. As for the sound, it starts off cute as you hear a little kid go “mommy, I don’t want to go to school today”. After a while, however, it gets really annoying hearing some condescending child say “what’s the matter with you?” It’s a gentle reminder of why I hide away in my room at night playing games in the first place. The music is actually well written and fairly calming, so it fits quite nicely in the background.
My main issue with the game is the fact that the three candle system should be an encouragement for me to try and go back and do better on a given level, yet more often than not I’m so relieved to complete a level that there’s no going back. Still, I admire the innovative control scheme, and there’s no question that the levels are diverse and well thought out. It’s nice to see a physics puzzle game that’s not all flinging and slicing, and for that I give Foodies some major props. Just keep in mind that if you’re an average gamer you should be prepared to spend quite some time perfecting a number of these levels.
Overall Score: 8/10
App Store Link