iPhone Life magazine

Review: Youda Survivor by G5 Games

Well, G5 Games has done it again.  Jane’s Zoo, Supermarket Mania 2 and Jack Of All Tribes were all excellent time management games, and I expected nothing less from Youda Survivor.  The reality, though, is that at some point one of these games just isn’t going to shine like the others.  Thankfully we haven’t reached that point yet.  This game is as addictive as the rest, and it already has me anticipating the next great G5 time management wonder.

Pelicans Like Shrimp
 

In Youda Survivor you wind up shipwrecked on a mysterious island, only to discover that you are apparently some sort of savior that will free the island’s inhabitants from nasty pirates.  Of course you’ll have to prove yourself to the chief of the tribe, and thus the time management trials begin.  This is a game similar to the Farm Frenzy franchise where instead of trying to serve patrons, your main goal each round is to produce a certain amount of one or more goods.  So far the foundation of everything in the game has been water which comes from pits in the ground, eggs which are laid by the various birds that inhabit the area you’re at and coconuts that fall from the trees or are randomly tossed by generous pirates.

Basic tasks involve collecting a certain number of the raw elements.  As you progress through the game you’ll be able to purchase machines that refine these elements.  For example, eggs can be boiled, then powdered and finally made into egg rolls, assuming you have the proper equipment.  You’ll also eventually be able to upgrade the equipment over time so it can process multiple products at the same time.  The nice part is once you buy an upgrade it’s permanently available, so if you had a particularly tough level that you want to try and do better on, you might consider waiting for a few upgrades and then going back to try it again.  Of course just because you have availability to an upgrade doesn’t mean you’ll automatically get it, and when you don’t it requires health in order to upgrade your equipment.

How'd I Do?
 

Along the way you’ll acquire two helpers.  The cook concocts potions out of the items you collect.  These potions will help restore your health and water.  It’s important to maintain both because if you’re health goes down to zero you’ll faint and have to start the level over, while if your water goes down to zero you’ll start losing health.  When you get far enough into the game pirates will start dropping scrolls that show you how to make “super potions” where the sum of the ingredients yield a lot more health than they normally would on their own.  Water potions are simply made from collecting buckets of water out of the pits.  You’ll also have a diver that can collect shrimp for you.  Shrimp are used in certain potions, as well as for feeding pelicans.  The diver may have other uses as well, but I haven’t run across them yet.

Not everything works to your benefit, however.  The levels are timed, and your ultimate money intake from a level (as well as your gold, silver or bronze medal status) is based on that time.  The pits will eventually dry up, which means you occasionally have to perform a rain dance at the expense of energy to keep them filled up.  You’ll also need to perform a wind ritual to shake the trees up a bit on levels where you need coconuts.  Then there are the bad guys.  Pirates will initially scare away your birds, but eventually they’ll start leaving bombs to destroy your equipment.  Crabs, on the other hand, will try and pilfer any goods lying around the beach that you haven’t claimed yet.  To get rid of either of them you have to tap on them multiple times, and once they are disposed of you’ll get some goodies in return.

The Chief Speaks
 

Everything is basically a tapping affair.  Most things require only one tap, though getting rid of bad guys requires multiple presses.  The main problem I’ve ever had with the controls is that with the screen being so small, it’s not uncommon to accidentally tap one thing when you meant to do another.  This becomes an issue if you do something like inadvertently tap an upgrade when it will put you down to zero health.  The game will let you do it, because you technically have enough health, but then you’ll pass out and have to play the level all over again.

The graphics are wonderful.  Everything is well animated and finely detailed, and the main characters look pretty sweet, especially in the few cut scenes that pop up.  There are all kinds of nice little touches like leaves flying around when the wind blows or the cook taking a sip of the potion every once in a while to see if it’s done.  The sound effects really make the goings on come to life, with everything from the little crab to the nasty pirates having their own sound.  You almost don’t have to watch the proceedings and you’ll still be able to tell what’s going on.  The music is subtle but very nice, and I like the fact that there is a separate tune for when the pirates come to invade.

Simpler Times
 

I’ve played through 22 levels so far (many of them several times), and I don’t even think I’ve covered everything they have to offer, let alone what will await you on the rest of the island.  The reality is that there are a ton of things happening on most levels, and never enough time for you to get bored.  I do wish I could have experienced this on an iPad, because there are times where it’s hard to click the right spot on the small screen due to the congested nature, but that problem hasn’t really kept me from enjoying the game so far.  If you liken yourself to being a time management fan then there’s no question that Youda Survivor should be in your collection.  If you haven’t experienced such games yet, this will definitely give you your money’s worth, though it might not be the best one to ease yourself into the genre.

Overall Score: 9/10
App Store Link

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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.