Version tested: iPhone
When George Orwell sat down to write dark dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, he couldn't have known that he would one day inspire Gluddle, a physics-based iOS puzzler where you dislodge spying Big Brother-style eyes in the sky.
You play as the Gluddle, a race of colourful orbs that you fling, Angry Birds-style, towards your Orwellian opposition. Your enemies are the Supervision, a totalitarian race of spheres with targets for faces. The monochromatic Supervision loom down on the cheery Gluddle and threaten them in various ways, though the little backstory that is given does not distract from the game itself; just as you now accept pigs and birds are mortal foes.
The game's standout feature is that Gluddles must be bounced off strategically-placed members of their kin to have any chance of reaching their target. Tapping a Gluddle in flight will cause it to freeze in place, turning it into a stationary Peggle-like pin from which you can rebound other hapless Gluddles. Chains of strategically-placed Gluddles must be placed to navigate each level's geography and puzzles, allowing your forces to bounce their way around the map to your goal.
Planning out level solutions is usually a simple affair - you can see you will need to smack your Gluddle into another at that point, allowing it to rebound into those boulders. And that, in turn, will cause an avalanche of rocks which should drop down and finally smash the Supervision orb. Actually positioning everything in the right place is another matter, and a reasonable amount of trial and error is needed. You also require a healthy smattering of luck and, like Peggle, this is where the real joy lies. You can lay all the groundwork you want, but half the fun is just sitting back and seeing what happens. It's not as overtly rewarding as Peggle's points-filled fireworks bonanza, but securing victory will still bring a smile to your face.
No physics-based game would be complete without some environmental hazards and, sure enough, the standard array of portals, gravity fields and black holes are present and correct. Extra danger is added by the Supervision's ability to freeze any meandering Gluddles that have been bouncing around the screen too long, often blocking your progress in unhelpful ways, forcing you to make each shot count.
The whole thing is wrapped up in a polished and oddly compulsive audio soundscape of electronic music, Gluddle cries (you will come to love/hate the scream "Oi!" as they ricochet around) and dead-pan GLaDOS-esque comments from the Supervision orbs ("Ha. Ha. Ha. Not this time," one intones, as it freezes your Gluddle millimetres from its target).
Gluddle currently gives you 55 levels for your money which should last you a couple of hours of playtime. There's no real end to the game, as is the case with a lot of mobile releases, allowing the developer freedom to patch in more levels at some point, should the game's popularity allow it.
But even without a final boss or Princess-saving cut-scene, Gluddle is rewarding enough while it lasts. And who knows - plucky little Gluddle is an invention Orwell might well be proud of.
App of the Day highlights interesting games we're playing on the Android, iPad, iPhone and Windows Phone 7 mobile platforms, including post-release updates. If you want to see a particular app featured, drop us a line or suggest it in the comments.