Can a hardcore shooter dev crack the mobile market?
Pity poor Fibble, the cute but squishy alien who's crash-landed from space onto the kitchen work-surface of a suburban home on planet Earth. With the crash scattering his crew across the house , only you can bring them all together and return them to their own home in the stars.
To say this game represents a departure from Crytek's more typically mature output of the past is to make a rather large understatement, and the developer's mobile debut is itself many worlds away from the blood-soaked islands of Far Cry, or the futuristic and bleak Crysis.
It is in fact a physics-based puzzler that sees the titular character launched, spun, boosted and jumped around a series of table-top maps, gathering coins and stars before rolling carefully onto the glowing exit. The perspective is all very reminiscent of the classic Micro Machines series, with toothbrushes and coffee mugs providing the structures spread throughout the bathroom, kitchen, kid's room and basement stages that make up the house. Graphically, Fibble's a technical triumph and each level starts with a smooth, detailed preview through the increasingly challenging stages.
The good news for Fibble himself is that he isn't alone in these adventures for long, and as he gradually makes progress through the game he bumps into a number of old crew-mates who offer up their assistance for the rest of their journey.
Byte's the first character you meet and he provides a gentle kick up the behind in order to elevate Fibble to a higher plane, while a tap of the screen in proximity of Docto sees him grab Fibble and slowly rotate, offering the chance to relaunch the little guy in a new direction. It's through the careful placement and combination of these and other characters that you navigate the increasingly complex and multi-pathed maps. Gentle tilting of your device adds a sort of "nudge" effect to his travels if you need to make any light corrections.
It should come as no surprise to anyone who's played more than a handful of mobile games in the last twelve months that the game rewards each successful clearing of a stage with either a gold, silver or bronze medal. These medals are provided for achieving a varied set of criteria, so one level might award a gold for using only one furiously flicked launch of Fibble, while another might require you to grab all of the gold stars dotted throughout each level, often combined with a minimum score.
So Fibble offers up some impressive achievements for Crytek: it's a fantastic 3D world, rendered to a technical degree of competence we've rarely seen on iOS devices. The developer's also managed to capture the humour and personality of some unique characters (no small feat in a saturated market). Where the game stumbles a little though is in the rapid escalation of difficulty, something that's perhaps unsurprising given the developer's more hardcore roots
If your mobile device does more than just entertain you on the way to work, but also provides your kids with some sanity-saving distraction, then they'll love the world, music and characters, but become quickly frustrated with the game. If on the other hand you're looking for something a little meatier to get stuck into yourself, Fibble has just the challenge you've been looking for.
What's Hot: Amazing visuals and varied challenges.
What's Not: Sharp difficulty spike.