Why so serious?
Roll up, roll up, the circus is in town. And the main attraction is you, a skilled knife-thrower, who delights the crowds by chucking sharp objects at a cartoon clown strapped to a spinning wheel of death.
Of course, this being a family show, the aim of the game is to avoid slicing our grinning friend to bits and rather to burst the balloons that have been pinned to dangerously close to this foolhardy harlequin’s vital organs.
Knife Toss’ delightful depiction of impalement arts might just be the perfect fit for iDevice’s combination of accelerometer and touch controls; the non-complex, tilt to aim and tap to toss a dagger, set-up meaning Crawlspace nail that pick-up-and-play quality from the off, while the ever increasing difficulty ensures the game’s a winner in the addictivness stakes also.
Set against the clock, each level requires some fast-paced sharp-shooting on your part as you attempt to pop as many balloons as possible without impaling your assistant. A health bar in the top left corner lets you know how much damage the clown can endure, whilst hitting targets consecutively initiates a “streak”, allowing you to rack up higher scores.
Power-ups (and downs) add even more variety to this already mad-cap mix, some speeding up the wheel, others bringing it to a grinding halt and so forth. This feature giving an air of unpredictibility to the preceedings and successfully capturing the excitement and death-defying dangerousness of the circus.
And this authentic carnival vibe extends to the colorful graphics also. Mere words, or indeed screenshots, fail to do the game justice as it looks utterly gorgeous in motion. While a keen eye for minor details are bound to raise a giggle or two – check out the clown’s progressively more pained facial expressions, for example, hilarious!
With three difficulty levels to master, an online scoreboard to carve your way to the top of and a clutch of OpenFeint achievements to be tackled, there’s definately enough content here to justify the paltry price of admission (only 99 cents ladies and gents).
So for the best part Knife Toss is wonderfully entertaining, but there were a couple of (tiny) niggles that took the edge off the experience for me. The lack of any backing music during the levels makes for a weirdly hushed tone- c’mon where’s the classic doo-doo-doobee-doobee-doo-doo-doo circus tune?- although the Thwacks! and Ouches! (the result of a badly aimed shot) are very well done…and highly amusing.
The main criticism that could be levelled at Knife Toss is that it’s a bit of a one-trick pony, in that every stage plays out almost identically to the last, but honestly when the main attraction is this much fun, who’s complaining?
iFanzine Verdict: Knife Toss’ blend of sharp-shooting, stylish presention and ker-razy sense of humour make for a freakishly fun game!
Score: 8 out of 10
iPhone apps at AppStoreHQ