NuOxygen’s Avoid – Sensory Overload (out now, $0.99) doesn’t quite live up to its title. The first part is fine, as you are indeed tasked with avoiding things, but the second part is a bit of a stretch. It’s a shame, too, because when I first heard that name I got excited for another balls to the wall twitch-fest like Boson X and its ilk. It’s not quite simple enough to hop on the minimalist bandwagon, and certainly not crazy enough to overload any sensory organs.

You play as a little spaceship racing down a track filled with obstacles. And by “racing” I mean strolling, and by “filled with obstacles” I mean there are blocks here and there that are pretty easily dodged (by tapping the left and right sides of the screen). Of course, that’s only on the first few difficulties. Things get a bit more hectic later on.

avoid-3Unfortunately, though, even when things are “hectic” you don’t feel like you’re moving that fast, and you can always see pretty far down the track to know what’s coming. It gets very difficult, for sure, but it never comes close to actually feeling intense or stressful like Boson X or Cube Runner. When I passed a particularly challenging level in Avoid, I never collapsed back on the couch, heart racing, with a big stupid grin on my face like those other games; rather, I just thought “finally, I’m done with that. Check it off the list and move on.”

Part of the problem is that everything just feels a bit stiff. There’s very little sense of motion, even when things are flying down the track toward you. When you smack into a block, you simply stop moving. When you accidentally fall through a gap, your ship just lazily pitches forward. When missiles are firing at you, it couldn’t be less exciting. Again, I don’t want to make it seem like the game is a cakewalk; far from it — the game gets quite brutal later on. It just feels lifeless.

Avoid reminds me a lot of Project ’88, a similar game I reviewed last year. Both games are very “meh” examples of one of my favorite iOS genres. And both would actually be excellent time wasters if they weren’t so completely blown out of the water by so many similar, much better games.

iFanzine Verdict: Avoid – Sensory Overload by NuOxygen is a game about flying down a track and dodging obstacles. Unfortunately, it lacks the sense of style and speed of its many App Store competitors. It tries to mix things up a little with powerups and two extra level packs with different themes (for another buck each) but it’s still difficult to recommend when you can get a much better experience at similar prices.