Krashlander is likely to divide gamers like no other title released on the App Store this week. A physics-heavy title that makes a nod towards Angry Birds, it offers gamers complete agency over the physical behavior of a skier as he hurtles across an arctic wasteland in order to clatter into the evil robots who have overtaken the world.
At the bottom right-hand corner of the screen is a radial joypad from which you can incrementally adjust your position - crouching down, leaning forward or back, bursting upwards to leap into the air, and so on. With these controls you attempt to blend your posture with the ground ahead, whether you're approaching to land or shooting elegantly over a mountain-top.
The game is a frustrating beast even from the very beginning as you acclimatize to controlling not the skis your rider stands on, but the rider himself. As the complexity of the levels deepens rapidly that frustration returns, and until you've suffered an endless number of failures there's an extraordinary disconnect between what you know you need to do in order to survive the next landing, and what actually happens when you set your rider's posture accordingly.
And so Krashlander teeters between satisfying physics gameplay and outright frustration as your attempts at positive posturing appear to betray you. There's fun to be had in trial-and-error gaming certainly, and your mastery of the rider will increase over time, but regardless of how much you improve you may find yourself questioning the pay-off. That the game meekly offers to let you skip a level entirely after a certain number of desperate attempts suggests that it's not just the player who feels that something's not quite coming together here.
It's hard to shake the suspicion that beneath the crisp visuals and the equally crisp, minimal atmosphere of Krashlander, there's the glimmer of a very different, yet greater game in here - one that combines the graceful navigation of an elegant runner with the precision assault of an Angry Birds. It's not that game though, and so it will remain a question of taste like no other.
For some, its physics-based frustrations will be too much to bear, while for others the rewards for mastering the game will be self-evident. We couldn't entirely love it ourselves, but that's not to say there won't be those who will.
What's Hot:A breath-taking challenge if you have the patience to master the game.
What's Not:Much more could have been done to ease players into the game's devilish challenge.