When I first saw Snailboy in iTunes’ New & Noteworthy section, I was immediately grabbed by the icon. The developer, Thoopid used a closeup of the main character’s face as the icon. When I checked the screenshots, I discovered several more amusing facial expressions for Snailboy. Rarely am I taken in by a game’s artwork, but these images hooked me instantly.
When I finally sat down to play Snailboy, I was treated to a pretty nifty experience. In the storyline, Snailboy loves to collect all kinds of shells, but one day they’re all stolen from him and he must go find them again.
Once the game begins, you’re taught the easy controls. You can jump around using the same mechanic as launching birds in Angry Birds. You’ll know where you’re going thanks to a dotted line showing where your jump will go. Slide your finger across the screen at varying speeds to slap Snailboy along a straight line, and tap the screen to grab and stick to mossy surfaces on walls. As you move around, you’ll collect goo balls as you progress to the goal. The speed in which you get to the goal while collecting those goo balls is what’s taken in to account to give you one, two, or three stars. You’re not alone in these levels, though. You’ll be avoiding critters and thorny things as you go.
The controls work almost perfectly, but one small issue drove me batty. If you start to drag off of Snailboy too soon, the game won’t give you a jump arc right away. It will do so halfway into your input which can cause you to jump in ways you didn’t intend. I assume this will be fixed in an update, though, as it seems fairly minor.
The levels progress quickly, which makes this a great game for popping open while you wait on something short. That said, it’s also fun enough to play for long sittings as you try to get quicker times and improve your scores.
The biggest drawback I found was the screen size being too small on the iPhone. It wasn’t easy to see exactly where you were going at all times, causing me to miss mossy walls from time to time. I imagine this isn’t an issue on the iPad, but even on the iPhone you can drag two fingers to look around a level before you start moving.
Overall, I think this is a great casual title with a great visual personality. It is going to have a long life in my games folder and will be something I recommend to any friends on iOS. If you’re looking for a good, inexpensive time-killer, I can’t recommend Snailboy enough!