Vivid Games has done a nice job completely re-tooling, resurfacing and rebranding their Alien Blobs title from one year earlier. This new version of the game, now titled Electro Hunter, is more edgy and drops the previous title’s cartooney style. Electro Hunter is a match-three marble popper (in the round) with an involved back-story. You take on the role of Raven, rejected from her own planet, she crash lands on a strange world, inhabited by small electric creatures known as Electro Quarks. Raven must collect these quarks to power up her special suit, eventually allowing her to get revenge on those who banished her.
Electro Hunter offers multiple game modes (Regular, Sniper, Time Attack, Mine, Boss and Competition) which help to keep things interesting. In Regular mode, you must destroy a specified number of Quarks in order to complete the level. Sniper mode, requires you to detonate bombs carried by the Quarks, by destroying four Quarks which are surrounding the bomb. Time Attack is just that, you have a specified amount of time to destroy as many Quarks as possible. Mine mode requires players to destory Quarks while special mines (of varying types) attempt to make your life more difficult. Boss mode is like a boss battle, where you must take out the Commanders of the Quarks. Finally, in Competition mode, you must destroy as many Quarks as possible while they attempt to retreat to the portal and escape. These modes are not individually selectable, but will be encountered as you progress through the game.
There are two different control schemes, Tilt or Tap. In Tilt mode, (our preferred game mode) you tilt your device left or right to change directions, with a steeper tilt, causing quicker reaction times. In Tap mode, you must use a finger to point in the direction you want to move, and by keeping your finger in a single location, Raven will stay in one spot. Both control schemes currently require players to use a pre-defined fire button, but we would really like to see this changed (for at least the Tilt mode) to allow players to touch “anywhere” on the screen to fire. The controls do have a slight learning curve and would benefit from a slight sensitivity adjustment (perhaps user-definable). We found the the Tilt controls to be a bit more intuitive and responsive, but sometimes still found there to be too much delay when trying to quickly switch directions.
Gameplay spreads across 30 levels and there are four cool power-ups, including: Shield Lead Boots, Atom Bomb and Color’s Doom to help you get through them. These add some good variety and help players to boost those high scores. There are a number of Achievements that you can earn and each level also has a Gold, Silver and Bronze completion time target.
Overall, we found the game’s graphics rather pleasing, but thought that power-ups were a bit too small to make out the details. We also found that the blob of quarks in the center often looked like a slightly washed-out muddled mass of color. There needs to be more definition added to the Quarks to really make the individual Quarks stand out from one other. When you are looking at adjacent Quarks of the same color, this lack of definition leads to some difficulty in determining where one Quark ends and the next begins . Electro Hunter’s tribal, almost jungle-like soundtrack and effects sound great through a pair of headphones and set a eerie trapped in space mood.
We feel that Electro Hunter is a good addition to the match three marble popper genre on the platform. It’s circular game play style offers a nice change from the more traditional (linear) games of this type. The multiple game play styles (especially the boss battles) really help you feel more like you are progressing through a storyline rather than the usual level after level (survive longer) feel of marble poppers. At $0.99 you really can’t go wrong with this one, but a free lite version is also available.