Having already made a splash on most every other gaming platform, from Wii to PSP, Eko Software now team up with BulkyPix to bring their fun Lemmings style puzzler, Aqua Panic (out now, $3.99), to iDevices. And while its touchscreen control scheme is a bit fiddly to begin with, for the best part, the game, which sees the player guiding a school of fish through a series of topsy-turvy levels filled with traps, is quite compelling.
Aqua Panic’s delightfully daft premise is as follows – a tropical storm has scooped all the fish from the ocean and left the poor little things high and dry. The aim of the game is to guide a set amount of these fish back to their natural habitat as they travel through streams of water by manipulating its flow with a range of different tools and techniques. Of course, a wide array of peckish predators – sharks, sea-gulls and more – soon crash the party and make your job more difficult.
Now, getting from A to B might sound like a relatively easy task, but, as mentioned, unfortunately, the game’s interface and controls don’t mirror the simplistic premise. As a result, you’re likely to spend the first few levels trying to get your head around the overly complicated system which involves quickly navigating levels with a cursor and a bamboozling combination of taps, double-taps and swipes necessary to make use of your water manipulating tools. Furthermore, the big and busy environments feel cramped on a small screen, and I reckon Aqua Panic would probably play a whole lot better on an iPad than a iPod touch or iPhone.
That being said, if you persevere with the game, you’ll be rewarded with an action-packed and endlessly inventive little puzzler. The 80 diverse levels set across 5 worlds impress, while a well observed difficulty curve and the gradual inclusion of more tools to play with means that this title feels fresh for its duration and you’ll often keep playing just to see what the next level has in store. Still, overall, Aqua Panic is a bit of a mixed-bag and its likely to frustrate as many players as it delights.
iFanzine Verdict: Initially unwieldy control scheme aside, Aqua Panic Deluxe boasts some of best Lemmings-esque gameplay on the iPlatform. Takes a bit of time to warm to, but all things considered, this quirky puzzler is still worth a look for fans of the genre.