What? You conquered Wuhu Island? That's child's play.
Chillingo seems to think the world could use more puzzle platform games, and the company released a great one called Rinth Island. Available for both iPhone and iPad, the app sends you on a tropical vacation of sorts, not to kick back and enjoy mixed drinks on the beach, but to light five beacons to help guide weary sea travels. It's both well designed and challenging, exactly the type of game we love to get happily lost within.
The story revolves around a small community that gets swept up by a giant storm and deposited elsewhere, and video game fans (Nintendo supporters, especially) should note the intro that features artwork very reminiscent of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, but that's as far as the references go.
Each of the game's 60 stages features a tower with some hard-to-reach item, and it's your job to find the best, and in most cases only, possible route to it, whereupon which you receive a score and move on to the next stage.
Now before you jump into this game pushing crates and blowing things up, consider this: one wrong move can throw off the entire puzzle, forcing you to restart from the beginning or erase the mistake with a limited number of rewinds. Thing is, it's sometimes tough figuring out which move did you in, forcing you to pay close attention to every little thing.
Personally, we love that about the game. It's rare to see a thinking person's platform adventure. We'll sit on the couch with our iPads examining the towers, then hope (fingers crossed) that we made the right decisions. The controls, meanwhile, work quite well, regardless of whether you go with touch (press anywhere and the character moves) or the virtual d-pad.
Now as we said, the game comes with 60 levels and those will take you a while to get through. There's also a level editor that is extremely user-friendly, giving you the chance to create puzzles from scratch and then share these levels with friends and random players worldwide. Not only that, but you can also rate each puzzle using gold stars, and the developers force you to play through your own stages to make sure they work as intended, guaranteeing that each user-created level has a solution.
That said, there is a ton of trial and error, and this will no doubt turn off some folks in desperate need of instant gratification; sorry, you'll just have to work through it. On top of that, we have yet to find an option to examine a tower before making a move, a free look, if you will. The obvious solution would be to implement a touch and drag mechanic to let players examine those 3D structures.
Finally, and this is more nitpicky, the visuals feel a step or two behind what we've grown used to seeing on the App Store. Colors appear faded, and the fact that the developers didn't take advantage of the new iPad's retina display is a bit disappointing.
Of course, some of the greatest iOS games lack drool-worthy visuals, and we're happy to say Rinth Island overcomes this graphical shortcoming with excellent head-scratching play, made even better with the addition of the editor. Just be sure to think before you press.
Review code provided by Chillingo.
What's Hot: Experiencing that
What's Not: Lots of trial and error, no way to view a whole tower before making a move.