How does a game called Platypus have nothing to do with the animal? Read on to find out.
It's bad enough that Apple's iPhone received Metal Gear Solid and Silent Hill exclusives ahead of Sony's PSP. Now it apparently plays the PSP's games. Platypus, a 2-D horizontal shooter that appeared on Sony's handheld, is available for $4.99 at the app store. Similar to previous versions, you pilot an F-27 Platypus fighter through four areas and blast an army of Collosatropolans. It's a simple and fun twitch shooter that's quite enjoyable.
As a shooter, Platypus offers little we haven't seen before. You blast enemies, collect power ups and occasionally, bunches of fruit; all things we've done in other games. It's the graphics, however, that separate it from the competition. Instead of going for a realistic approach, Platypus' creator, Anthony Flack, modeled the environments, ships and explosions out of clay; when things blow up, they splat. While not the most detailed of shooters, we dig the visuals simply because they stand apart from everything else. In addition, it harks back to our grade school days when we stayed up late making clay animals to put into dioramas.
You control the F-27 one of two ways. Either you guide it by dragging your finger across the screen, or you physically tilt the phone to make it move up, down, left and right. We much prefer the latter method, since the former obscures part of the screen, including enemies and enemy fire. Besides, the tilt controls not only work surprisingly well, but there's a tilt sensitivity option that allows you to adjust ship response. Keep in mind, though, that accelerometer controls aren't nearly as precise as a traditional d-pad.
On PSP, we felt that Platypus was much too short to warrant dropping $20-30 on it, but at $4.99, it's a good fit for iPhone. The slick claymation graphics, addictive old school music and traditional shooting action make it an ideal pickup. Just don't expect an amazing experience. Platypus is fun, but its graphics can't hide the been there/done that gameplay.
What's Hot: Unique claymation graphics, quality tilt controls, catchy music, traditional 2-D shooter.
What's Not: Touch screen controls obscure the action, developer did little to elevate this game past the competition.