Scarlett and the Spark of Life: Scarlett Adventures Episode 1
- iPhone - £0.59
Sometimes, developers, it's definitely worth tapping us on the shoulder to remind us that we still haven't reviewed your amazing new game. Especially when it's as breezily confident as this.
In this instance, your loose change buys you a 60-90 minute chunk of point-and-click adventure, boasting finely honed dialogue, silly but satisfying puzzles and the kind of random nonsense that only seems to turn up a couple of times a year in videogames, if you're lucky.
You play as the sharp-tongued Scarlett, a princess who's not entirely impressed with being captured, tied up and chucked on the back of a horse. Rather than merely accept her fate, she figures out how to get free from her rather dim-witted aggressors and spends most of the episode trying to fashion an escape vehicle with a God complex.
This being an adventure game, that obviously gives her license to build a talking horse out of bits of wood, and convince the oddball locals to help her out in their own slightly cracked way. But unlike a lot of the crappy adventure games that get shovelled onto iOS devices, Scarlett and the Spark of Life doesn't make you want to chew your own face off. The interface is unobtrusive and intuitive, the puzzles actually make sense, and the (text) dialogue is amusing without trying too hard. It even looks good.
While it's a bit on the short side and a tad easy, this is a hugely promising start for Launching Pad Games. More, please.
Catcha Mouse HD
- iPad, iPhone - Free (in-app levels £0.59)
As Ratatouille illustrated a few years back, the modern rodent can be a right fussy sod when it comes to cuisine. No longer content with the rancid cheddar that used to lead them to their doom, we're forced to up our game in pursuit of this domestic menace.
Catcha Mouse puts a strategic spin on the age-old problem, as you try to prevent the mouse from disappearing down the nearest hole in the woodwork.
30 levels come free in Odasoft's ludicrously addictive turn-based offering, and beyond the first half-dozen it becomes a lot trickier than it initially appears. As you lay your trap down to block off one escape route, the mouse responds accordingly and makes a beeline for one of the other holes in the vicinity. More often than not, the little critter finds a way to outsmart you, slipping through your defences long before you have a chance to get the jump.
But plan your moves with calculated foresight and eventually you'll figure out a means of leaving your bulging-eyed foe with nowhere to go. And so it's on to the next one, and the next one, until you give in and cough up for the advanced level pack and drive yourself properly potty.
As devilishly addictive as Catcha Mouse undoubtedly is, though, there are times when a level appears to be impossible, and no matter where you place your trap, they'll always find a way through. On such occasions you have to wait for a rare mistake to occur before you can corner them. It's not unfair, but it is downright annoying, and enough to make you want to give up. Catcha Mouse might be free, but what price your own sanity?