By Eric Pankoke on Mon, 02/27/2012
For starters, this isn’t another Angry Birds or Bejeweled clone, so that’s a bonus. Twist & Catch is actually a nifty little puzzle game with a bit of a… well, twist to it. There are plenty of levels, and with a three diamond ranking system you probably won’t beat the game in an afternoon. Be warned, though, that you will get hooked and quite possibly want to chuck your device at a wall sometimes.
You are an Indiana Jones wannabe who along with his monkey sidekick plan on stealing a bunch of diamonds from ancient temples around the world. Of course in true adventure movie style the diamonds are protected by all kinds of nifty traps, including a vicious spiked floor that rises to the occasion in every single level. There is a main pink diamond and three blue diamonds to retrieve in each level, but ultimately to pass a level you just need the pink diamond. Luckily there are plenty of ways to die, including getting the explorer impaled, touching the rope on anything designated as “bad”, or touching the pink diamond to any spiked surface.
In addition to the aforementioned spikes – of which there are plenty – other things will get in your way. Blocks are randomly strewn throughout the levels that won’t hurt you but can get in your way. There are also areas that require you to press a switch to open, but the rope must stay on the switch the whole time or the wall will close up again. One of the newest obstacles I’ve encountered is a ball that not only rolls with your movements, but can also actually leave its platform to cause you grief elsewhere in a level. I wish I could tell you more about what to expect, but for one thing discovery is part of the fun, and for another I’ve fallen into the trap of wanting to get all the blue diamonds on each level, making my progress somewhat slow.
So if you don’t need the blue diamonds, why do I care? Well, you do actually need them to unlock groups of levels in the current temple and also to unlock additional temples. Now I don’t mind this to an extent, especially since you can skip levels if the prove to be too difficult, but obviously you won’t be able to skip too much if you want to keep progressing in the game. I think it’s okay to require some blue diamonds in order to keep advancing, but it might be nice if there were a difficulty setting so that less skilled folks could have a chance at unlocking more of the game (without feeling the need to pull out their hair from frustration).
To start your explorer on his intrepid journey you tap the screen, and then the monkey that you never see does the work of lowering him down to the diamond. If you tap and hold the screen the monkey will start reeling the explorer back up, so you can adjust according to your needs. Keep in mind that switching orientations (ascension vs. descending) is not an automatic thing, so allow for the timing. You can also alter the direction your explorer is traveling by tilting the device, but if descending the rope will still grow longer. While you’ll never completely rotate the device around, you will be doing a lot of twisting (hence the name). Sometimes it feels like the precision necessary to do everything isn’t quite there, but I imagine it’s a nice approximation of doing this in real life – because we know how often monkeys lower people down on ropes!
The visuals are great. The backgrounds are well drawn and nicely detailed, and everything that needs to be animated is smooth. I love the expressions on the explorer’s face, especially when he comes hurtling towards the screen because of a “rope accident”. The sound effects compliment the action pretty well, though the explorer tends to be a bit of a baby when the diamond breaks. I also don’t like the fact that the ticking of the countdown timer often overshadows the music. The music is actually pretty good, and I like that the tune changes as you’re on your way back up to escape the rising floor.
Twist n’ Catch is a good game both in its own right and because it’s not just a clone of a popular puzzle game type. It can get quite frustrating however, especially because you need to get the blue diamonds in order to keep progressing in the game. Those that either aren’t very good at precision timing puzzle games or don’t have a lot of patience might not enjoy it. However, if you’re looking for something different and don’t shy away from a challenge, Twist n’ Catch is the right game for you.
Overall Score: 8/10
App Store Link
This game was reviewed on an iPod Touch 4G running iOS 5.0.1.