The first time I saw the Youtube video for VernX, I was thinking about how simple and silly it was. Basically, you’re guiding particles from one end of the maze to the other, and looking at the video, there seemed to be no obstructions at all. It was pretty much smooth sailing from one end to the other, giving a sense of over-simplicity and boring-ness.
But I was proven wrong, so wrong, when I actually got my hands on this indie wonder, an App Store gem we call it. While there are some small flaws with the design and whatnot, the overall game was exactly that: a gem. For $2.99, I would be surprised if you didn’t get it, and with a lite version available, there’s no reason for you not to try it.
Fresh: This is a totally new experience for me and almost everyone else that buys games on the App Store. I’ve never seen something so unique, and while the basics and foundations are quite simple, it’s also quite complex through the obstructions and hindrances the developer put into the game. I’m always up for indie developers creating unique experiences on the iPhone, and Vladimir Vernacki did a great job of creating a unique experience.
Content: There are challenge levels, sandbox levels, and of course, the main levels. The number of levels totals to around 65, and each one should take you anywhere from 30 seconds to 2 minutes. It’s all about control in this game, and the amount of content provided should be enough to fill that $2.99 asking price. There are also more coming in updates, but for now, there’s a lot going on.
Controls: The accelerometer controls are precise, and account for accurate movements from point A to point B. I didn’t have much trouble with it, and I believe there is some sort of calibration input into the game. While I’m not a huge fan of games using the accelerometer due to a shaky beginning, VernX does a good job of executing. You shouldn’t be fighting the controls in this game, and it’s very easy to pick up and learn.
Graphics: The version 1.2 update addressed the user interface issues, but it would still be nice if the game looked a bit more sophisticated. As of now, it looks as if the artist took the rectangle tool in Adobe Illustrator, created a stroke with a weight of 2 pt., then filled it using the live bucket tool. No gradients, no nothing. Just simple, Adobe Illustrator tools that even a child can learn. I’m not sure how they could improve the graphics, but right now, the game doesn’t exactly look how it plays.
Slow: There’s a lot of waiting to be had in VernX, a part that most people like me don’t enjoy. While some may find it quite relaxing, I found it to be a hindrance. Waiting for the numerous number of blocks to go up then down was a little slow, and people looking for a quick pick-up-and-play game won’t find it here. It’s all about patience and fighting through; some may even find it frustrating.
Silence: A lack of background music really is a detriment, and it would have been so nice if the game included some sort of upbeat, techno mix. While there are sound effects here and there, it would have been nice if the developer included some music. As an iPhone gamer, it’s always nice to hear both game music and iPod music and given a choice between the two.
While there are some small flaws in VernX, the overall game was a unique experience that I thoroughly enjoyed. The dislikes are plenty, but most are minor issues that the developers are more than capable of fixing. If you haven’t picked this title up yet, I suggest you go ahead and try the lite version as this type of game may not be your cup of tea. Personally, I enjoyed the game quite a lot, and the App Store would be such a better place if more indie developers came up with these types of unique and fresh game experiences.