Video games are nothing if not pro-hedgehog. In life, the spiny mammal has it rough. He spends the year either quaking in bushes hiding from ravenous foxes and owls, skittering across main roads between the oily weight of traffic or sleep-dead in the cosy grip of hibernation. In video games, however, the hedgehog is somehow a notorious acrobat, callous pugilist, dextrous treasure-hunter and sometime sportswear model.
See how the hedgehog explodes through his foes at spine-breaking speed - his trainers a crimson blur - grasping fistfuls of gold coins in Sega's Sonic. See how the hedgehog loop-de-loops through the air with dazzling poise, latching an extendable rope to the nearest cloud to swing himself yet higher through the stratosphere in Wide Sky. Video games are routinely accused of fulfilling teenage power fantasies. But perhaps they're really here to make hedgehogs feel good about themselves?
Certainly in this, Marcus Eckert's debut iOS title, the hedgehog cuts an impressive figure, splicing the air in a tight ball, swinging wide arcs around clouds on his extendable rope like a reincarnated hippy Bionic Commando. The game's witty, absurdist text is critical, describing these creatures as having "wicked souls" and being "mistrustful of government" and "undiscerning painters." However, in motion, Wide Sky is a bighearted ode to the hedgehog.