Gears, a 3D ball rolling platformer, is the latest release from the California-based developer Crescent Moon Games whose previous efforts include Ravensword and Rimelands. I was fortunate enough to get an early copy of the game for review, so I’ve had plenty of time to test the waters in this interesting and well executed game before today’s official release.
You must control a little ball and move it around beautiful 3D sceneries with precision and patience as you will find many obstacles in your way, preventing you from reaching the goal. In your quest, you’ll have to move around thin ledges, jump over moving gears, avoid electric fences, you name it. While doing all of this, you also must collect the tokens left in often precarious positions throughout each level. The more you get, the higher your score. Did I forget to mention you have a time limit for this? Well don’t be afraid, some levels have time limit others do not, simply because some of them are very hard. Your overall score for each level is calculated using any remaining time as ‘time bonuses’. Mercifully there are several save points during your journey on each level, so if you fall you will respawn at the previous automatic save point that you reached.
Gears is divided into three worlds: “The brass menagerie”, “Rivers of magma” and “The cavern of omens”. Each world has their own theme and nine levels to play through, unlocking each of them as you advance through the game. The game supports two different control schemes, swipe, which offers an adjustable speed for your gaming ability, or tilt, which can easily be calibrated with a touch of a button when you start the game. Playing with the tilt controls is more difficult, so you receive an extra bonus in your score if you choose to play the game with this setup.
Players also have their choice of difficulty levels: “Easy”, “Normal”, “Hard” or “Brutal”. Choose carefully young Padawans, because Gears is an easy to play, hard to master kind of game. This game requires a good deal of control and patience, so if you are a little sloppy with your hands well…you have being advised!
While not exactly the same, I couldnt help but see some little similarities with 1337 Game Design’s Dark Nebula series, which is another fantastic franchise in the same genre. So unfortunately I won’t be giving my originality award to Crescent Moon Games this time, sorry. I found Gears’ gameplay to be good and somewhat addictive, but not perfect and sometimes I found the levels to be a bit too repetitive. That being said, the game shows a great amount of testing and fine tuning, everything is covered, you wont find any glitches (at least I did not) or app crashes.
From the moment you start up the game, Gears greets you with an astonishing 3D cut scene and a veritable feast for the senses. While the game offers a very basic story line, it is enhanced by pleasant vocal talent along with well-defined sound engineering which gathers the effects and the music on the same line. It is a universal App with High definition graphics for devices with retina display and the iPad 2.
The graphics and textures are fantastic, the amount of detail: Almost perfect. The only downside (which is not a deciding factor on my review) is that the game is very hungry for resources and even in normal definition graphics setting, loading can take a little more time than expected.
Since as I already mentioned, I received an early copy of the title to review, I honestly didn’t know the price of the game when I wrote up this review, so it didn’t factor into my final score. Once I saw the 99¢ launch price I thought “For 99¢ it’s one hell of a game!” I highly recommend Gears, it is a very solid, addictive and visually stunning ball rolling platformer!