Release Date:January 18, 2009
Summary:Excellent artist sketch presentation and clever spin on the typical physics engine run game. Great game on the go.
At last, I have a new favorite game – a favorite not only for its excellent presentation and ability to be picked up on the fly, but a favorite for its original spin on a classic setup.
Rafter, by Punflay, immediately besets a puzzling situation amid the drawing board likeness of a Leonardo Da Vinci sketch, complete with a weathered, paper palpability and the faded designs of some, no doubt, genius of the burgeoning industrial era. Lines drawn by rulers and compasses complement the words scribbled into the margins, and upon starting the game, you feel as if you’re actually playing around with the designs for this mysterious Rafter, sketching long squares and ellipitical circles to bounce about onscreen. It’s too bad this vintage illusion is shattered by the hokey music completely at odds with the feel of the game. I would actually prefer the brooding, melancholy vibe from V is for Vortex than the Mario Brothers-worthy happiness that clutters your mind from solving the puzzles at hand. No problem, though, just turn off the music.
The game springs from what the developer describes as a “dash of physics and a sprinkling of common sense,”only Rafter is far more clever and original than the usual ragdoll physics game. The objective is to hit a target, or mine, seen as a scribble of geodesic red lines, with blocks and spheres that must be manually sketched out, and then be dropped with precision, taking into account the velocity and projected angles at which they will fall. Spread over 21 challenging levels, it tests the user’s attention and skills to strike the mine as the timer ticks – but don’t let the timer strike away too much at your focus, because you’ll soon find out just how
greatly minute changes in the length or height of your squares can impact your end result. The first three levels are fairly straightforward, not requiring any true skill or attention to detail – just drop and be on your way. But, all the ensuing levels have the complexity of a trigonometic equation, forcing you to, yes, pay attention, and to, more so, think long and hard. You actually have to use your brain in this game, figuring out how your sketched objects collide with static objects, and empirically observing in what direction and manner they ricochet. It’s quite entertaining, to just experiment and not even bother with striking the mine. But, as with any game, competition is the end-all, be-all, and you’ll soon have a hungry hankering for the rest of the levels. The game has the scores tied in with the number of moves made, so the equation is simple: each level has a fixed number of moves and the score increases when you solve the game using the least number of moves. Please do try to take this into account when trying to progress to later levels. My one complaint? There should be more levels – way more levels.
Oh, and be sure to watch out for swinging platforms, fans, and other not-so-friendly objects on the way. Just a thought.