Fact: Good platformers on the iPhone are few and far between. Most developers, it seems, have not yet come to the realization that the iPhone’s touch controls lack the precision necessary for the traditional platformer. And so the genre is largely represented by poor Super Mario Bros. clones, and half-baked ports of old classics, like Capcom’s Mega Man II. While a few games have managed to succeed despite these trappings — Gameloft’s Castle of Magic and Rake In Grass’ Archibald’s Adventures, for example — the truly shiny platformers are those such as Rolando 2 or Spider: The Secret of Bryce Manor, which have embraced the iPhone’s unique input methods and made them an important component of gameplay.
And where that leaves Soosiz is in a bit of a hard place. The game adorns itself in the standard regalia, relying on a single gimmick to set itself apart from the crowd. That gimmick is its level design. Each level is comprised of planetoids, each with its own gravity. Rather than jumping from platform-to-platform over bottomless chasms, Soosiz charges you to leap from planetoid-to-planetoid, while the game world spins about in an attempt to readjust perspective for your new gravitational viewpoint.
Idea: Conceptually, Soosiz works very well. The game is easy to learn, kid-friendly and there’s fun to be had. The spinning worlds mechanic makes for a nice change from the standard run-from-left-to-right platformer.
Controls: The controls consist of left, right and jump buttons. When you’ve collected 100 coins, a Star Power button also appears, allowing you to become invincible. While I think a setup similar to that seen in Shift might have been better, the provided controls get the job done well.
Content: With 65 levels spanning seven worlds, this is a game that should last you a while. There are bonus levels to be unlocked as well, though I’m not sure whether they add into that 65.
Dizziness: It may be a sign that I overdid it a little last night, but playing Soosiz makes me dizzy. With the game world constantly spinning around my character, I’m good for one level, maybe two, and then I have to stop. The same gimmick that makes the game interesting, also gives me headaches.
Everything borrowed, nothing new: Sadly, Soosiz is from top-to-bottom extremely generic and derivative. The art is bland, especially when compared to games like Rolando and Spider. The music is generic and childish; ‘Old Saint Nick’ actually makes an appearance. To dispatch your enemies, you jump on their heads. Star Power is invincibility. You collect coins. To wit, Soosiz plays like an overly simplified, scaled down, 2D version of Super Mario Galaxy with terrible music and bland artwork. The developer is tossing around the word “groundbreaking” to describe the game, but there’s nothing groundbreaking or original about it.
And it’s that last bit that really gets me about Soosiz. “Generic” is the total sum of the game; it really has no character of its own, no identity other than so much spinning that it hurts my head. This is not the next great iPhone platformer. On the other hand, it’s not a bad game. Especially if you’re better able to cope with the spinning than I am. Because screenshots give you no sense of the motion in the game, here’s a gameplay video:
At the time of this writing, Soosiz has a total of 17 customer reviews on the App Store, amounting to a five star rating. I personally wouldn’t give it more than three stars, but I’m just one reviewer, and I’m hard on games.