The concept of an adorable nightmare would seem an oxymoron, but in BulkyPix's Terra Noctis, this is merely the game's hero, Allen. Turns out, the little guy isn't scary enough to terrify anyone, and sets off through an imaginative world to fix this.
At least that's what we assume. For whatever reason, the developers at FireFruitForge don't expand upon this concept throughout the game, instead opting to create a 2D platform adventure with little connection to the narrative. Allen could, in theory, be anyone and the game would work just fine.
As odd as this is, Terra Noctis is still thoroughly entertaining. Allen jumps onto enemies' heads to defeat them, collects hidden letters to spell words and uncovers secret areas, hardly revolutionary concepts, but the precision touch controls, dreamy backgrounds and desire to upgrade his abilities makes this title a guilty pleasure. The fact that it costs $0.99 (universal, by the way) doesn't hurt.
If anything, the game feels like a comfy pair of shoes. It's a comfortable fit, with boss fights against humongous creatures (including a nightmare eating plant) and gathering currency (in this case, fairies) to buy a host of items like extra heart containers, bombs, lives and balloons to float. Allen can even hitch a ride on his companion bat.
There are a handful of issues. The graphics, while cute, seem a bit faded, while enemies don't pose much of a threat, and usually go about their business unaware of Allen's presence until he's nearly on top of them. We also grew tired of the soundtrack, which repeats throughout the experience.
On the positive side, Terra Noctis still manages to be one of the best games on the App Store, an iPhone and iPad experience that feels instantly familiar, but is in no way boring. A pleasurable nightmare, indeed.
Requirements: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad.Requires iOS 4.0 or later.
What's Hot: Traditional side-scrolling play, likeable hero, spot on controls, plenty of collectibles and secret areas to locate, $0.99, universal.
What's Not: No connection between story and gameplay, repeating music.