June 5, 2010 in Games (E)
[prMac.com] Sheffield, United Kingdom - Are you ready for insanely addictive game-play, that will push your ninja skills to the limit? Classic Amiga platform game, Qwak, highly prized for its fast-paced, addictive game-play, now re-envisioned for iPhone and iPod touch, by the games' original author, 22 years after it's initial inception. Qwak is a timelessly brilliant platformer on every level, and it'll satisfy every single retro craving you could possibly have. Easy to learn, hard to master? Check. Tons of pickups? Yup. Rewards for skillful play? Absolutely. Secret bonuses to find? You got 'em.
Before I haplessly throw around too many more superlatives, I should probably explain the actual gameplay in a bit more detail. You, a duck, must dash and leap through 70 levels in a plotless quest for high scores and shiny bonus items. On each level, or "scene" as the game calls them, are a number of golden keys. Collecting them all will open the exit door. Too simple, you may be thinking - but no! To spice things up you are encouraged to play at a jaunty pace, because lingering on a level for too long will cause a rain of spikes to descend from the top of the screen, placing your duck's continued good health in severe risk.
Getting in your way are various enemies with distinct movement patterns. Just like the fruits and gems you can grab for extra points (and other rewards), each can come in normal or extra-large proportions. Although you can get rid of enemies by throwing eggs at them, you also have to worry about conserving your eggy ammunition for later levels. Luckily, the fruit that you collect is converted into eggs at the end of each screen - but the further you progress, the tougher the enemies become, and so the more eggs you'll have to use to defeat them.
Some levels will give you a chance to eat up some fruits and rack up some serious points while others have a more ponderous nature, and there are even traps to work around in many later areas if you want to reach the juiciest items. The screen wraps around from top to bottom and you'll frequently have to use this to your advantage in order to dodge enemies or get to places you need to go. It can be a slightly boggling idea on your first few plays, but this subtle mechanic is a large part of Qwak's charm. There are also bubbles to lift you up to otherwise unreachable heights and gates to block your way unless you have the correct colour key, not to mention the levers or even the mushrooms, skulls and flowers.
Despite the tight time limit it's always worth taking a moment at the start of each screen to plan your route. Put one foot wrong and you could end up in a dead end with a screen full of juicy fruits laughing at your clumsiness! There are even screens where you must kill all of the enemies to progress - oh, did I mention that keeping a hold on your egg-flinging urges is essential? Getting stuck through a lack of ammo is more than a little embarrassing.
I've already touched on Qwak's highly polished presentation, but it needs to be said again that the art, music and sound effects could hardly fit together any better. There are several graphical themes to the levels including old mines, ancient Egyptian labyrinths and crumbling castles, and while the music isn't tailored to each location it still brings back a fantastic MOD-music atmosphere. Special effects give just enough extra shine without distracting you from the action (and there's a lot of it to keep your eyes on).
Comparisons could be drawn against any of several popular arcade games of the late 80s before Qwak was originally released all those years ago, but honestly, this game carves a niche all to itself and deserves to be appreciated as such. Considering that everything in the game is the work of our good Mr. Woodhouse himself, the game becomes that little bit more impressive. Please, do yourself a favour and buy this game - nothing is perfect, but this is about as close to platforming heaven as you'll get.
Pricing and Availability:
Qwak is priced at £1.79 (GBP), $2.99 (USD) or equivalent, and will be available on the AppStore, from June 8. More information about the game, screen shots and video are available on our websites. Contact us for promo codes for game reviewing; specifying your name and media you represent (magazine, blog, news paper, TV show, etc.).
Mr Qwak is an independent developer of video games for multiple platforms; we create super playable game-play experiences, that will knock your socks off and keep you coming back for more. Jamie Woodhouse, is the founder of Mr Qwak, and has been developing video games, on a number of platforms, for over 25 years. Copyright (C) 2010 Mr Qwak. All Rights Reserved. Apple, the Apple logo, iPhone, iPod and iPad are registered trademarks of Apple Inc. in the U.S. and/or other countries.