It's something of a red letter day in mobile land when a game is promised to be something unique on the App Store and, lo and behold, it turns out that actually it is. If you were to slot Sky Tourist into any one genre in particular, it would be the platformer - but this is one platformer with a genuinely original twist.
There's a story here that you'd be hard pressed to follow without referring to the App Store description, but the meat of the game involves you steering a character up the screen using a very interesting mechanic. At the left and right-hand edges of the screen are rockets connected by a rope. Move each one up together, and your pilot Petey is hoisted vertically up the screen. But by moving one higher or lower than the other, you can turn that rope into a slide that Petey travels along.
You need this special ability to gather all the cubelets hovering left and right around the world, not to mention a special key cube that opens up the exit point. This is easier said than done, however, as there are plenty of obstacles to negotiate, spikes to avoid, and objects to shove around in order to open up the path ahead. You'll also have to avoid stretching that rope too far or it will snap, sending Petey crashing to the ground, and forcing you to restart the level.
There are 75 of these levels, spread across three themed areas, and to say the challenge quickly gets steep is to make quite an understatement. Unintuitive though these controls seem at first, you do eventually get into a rhythm, although the nature of the level design means it's easy to become hopelessly trapped between obstacles, forcing a restart.
There's some logic behind that design, as clearing a stage without losing a life awards you with one of three stars, with the other two being awarded for grabbing every last cube, and reaching the end of the level itself. But it's a frustrating price to pay, whatever the intentions of the developers might be, and you'll often be frustrated rather than entertained.
With its refreshingly original core platform mechanic, not to mention the wonderful audio and artwork, Sky Tourist is a game that you'll desperately want to enjoy more than you actually will - a real pity. When it works, it's wonderful, but much like those terrifyingly tense buzzer games where you gently run a loop of metal over a drawn out wire, for too much of the time it's simply a test of endurance.
What's Hot:A very interesting new take on the platforming genre, with wonderful artwork and audio throughout.
What's Not:The intentional traps in the game feel deeply unsatisfying, and it's a fiddly game to acclimatize to.