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Gears Review: Unique and Quite Enjoyable Ball-Roller

I’ve never been a fan of ball-rollers; they’re extremely frustrating, and I just never really saw the appeal in precision controlling.

Now let’s put Crescent Moon Games into the mix—the creators of arguably two of the best RPGs on iOS—and see if they’ve really reinvented the whole ball-rolling genre on the App Store.

Starting with the bare basics, Gears does basically what every ball-roller’s objective is: roll through the level hopping over obstacles and get to the end safely.  There are usually medals—as in this case—rewarded based on how well you completed the objective (time, how many coins collected, etc.).  Probably the best feature of Gears is its controls: spot on swipe controls that are absolutely brilliant.  The graphics are also not too shabby especially when playing on an iPad 2, and the environment feels like I’m actually inside some forbidden cave.

But Gears is far from perfect — yes, Gears does have its flaws.  For one, the tilt controls are absolutely horrendous; in fact, don’t even bother trying to make them work.  The calibration seems way off, and while it does mention that the game calibrates after the end of every level, you’ll have trouble even getting through the first one.

On top of that, for those that like to take in the environment and take as long as you want on any given level, too bad.  The time constraint does bother me a little since you must start the level over if you don’t finish, and it’s especially bothersome when the time expires right when I’m about to finish.  A new system of giving out trophies in which each one is based on how much time it takes you to finish would be a much better system, as it allows slow people to still advance into the later levels, albeit with lesser medals.

I’m not going to even get started on the fact that it doesn’t include GameCenter achievements.

But while Gears isn’t as perfect or as ideal as Crescent Moon’s past games, it’s still quite enjoyable and a thrill at times.  Getting through the levels does have its moments, and at $0.99, this is the definition of bargain.

Likes

Graphics: Crescent Moon Games has gotten this part down on their past two titles, and this is no different.  While I wasn’t overly impressed with the graphics on my iPhone 4, on the iPad 2, it was an entirely different story.  The graphics were absolutely phenomenal, and the detail was probably more than my eyes could handle.  I give props yet again to whoever does the graphics over at Crescent Moon Games because hey, they’re awesome.

Bargain: For $0.99, you’re getting a not too shabby game.  In fact, you’re getting a game that could as well be priced at $4.99, and I believe people would still buy it.  It’s universal, has GameCenter (although only leaderboards at the moment), and it contains some great content.

Swipe controls: The swipe controls are wonderful; in fact, they’re probably the best controls I’ve seen in a ball-roller.  It feels natural, it’s quick, and it’s comfortable.  Props to Crescent Moon Games for creating such a unique control scheme.

Dislikes

GameCenter: Achievements, anyone?  That’s what I absolutely love about GameCenter and any social platform for that matter.  But Gears’s lack of achievement is very noticeable, and I was actually quite disappointed.

Time constraint: I believe I’ve said everything needed to be said in the beginning of this review, but I’ll say it again: there are times when I just don’t feel like starting a level over.  Seems a bit brutal to me.  And hey, it would be nice to give me some more time to take in the beautiful surroundings.

Tilt controls: Ball rollers and tilting just seems so natural, and people like me actually like to tilt the ball.  But the tilt controls in this game are absolutely horrendous; I’ve never encountered such bad tilt controls.  I feel like I’m missing something in the options or anything, but scouring the entire game has produced no clues as to why these tilt controls are so bad.

Obviously I’m mixed concerning Gears.  On one hand, it’s beautiful, and the swipe controls work great.  It’s a bargain at $0.99 including the fact that it’s universal, and the game does have its shining moments.  Then there’s the other hand, which includes the fact that it doesn’t have GameCenter achievements, has terrible tilt controls, and that the time constraint does bother at times.  Ultimately, though, for $0.99, Gears is a game that’s too hard too pass up.  And considering Crescent Moon Games’s tendency to update its games, I would take a safe bet on this becoming great.

Gears was developed by Crescent Moon Games, and I played through version 1.0 on my iPhone 4 and iPad 2.  The price is $0.99.




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