Rotten-toothed evildoer Mr. Sugar thinks he’s hit the motherload by abducting The Mordis (Out Now, $0.99), hoping to churn them into a feast of cotton candy. The cuddly little puff balls have to escape his clutches somehow. Given the peaceful nature of their species, it looks like a ton of bridge building is their best option!
The Mordis is a by-the-book construction puzzler, letting you set up a (hopefully) sturdy path before hitting a “Go” button and witnessing the effectiveness of your design. Its drag and drop toolbox and turn wheel for orienting objects are well mastered, and solutions tend to be open ended. That open-endedness can give the game a downright sloppy feel at times, but it’s a fun kind of sloppiness that gives you a chance to plop springs and metal beams around like the engineering equivalent of a mad scientist. The Mordis has an interesting time attack approach to score calculation, a points meter constantly ticking down before your eyes as you spend precious seconds making adjustments. Suggested solution hints are available at any time but these become less complete as level size grows, keeping the overall challenge on an upward trend.
It’s a shame that The Mordis introduces all the mainstays of the player’s toolbox in the first world, but it recovers in two ways. First are the especially tricky boss levels that cap off each world, and second is the variety of environments the Mordis have to cross on their way to freedom. New traps are constantly stirred in to take advantage of environment themes, making the player use existing tools in creative new ways even though the tool kit remains static. Objects threaten to become mixed up with the touch activation areas of the player’s toolbox at first, but this problem vanishes shortly after it appears as levels become large enough to pan back and forth.
The Mordis aesthetically underwhelms at first: the introductory level set features a looping jingle that quickly wears out its welcome and the Mordis themselves are barely animated. Give it a while, however, and you’ll be surprised at just how beautiful the environments and soundtrack get further in.
iFanzine Verdict: A traditional approach to the gap-crossing genre, The Mordis nevertheless manages to put its own environment-driven spin on the usual formula. It may not have enough glitz and glamor to draw newcomers to the genre, but it’s a solid title to add to your collection if you’re already a fan.