Fibble: Flick ‘n’ Roll iOS
Quick, think about Crytek! Chances are, you pictured one of the Crysis Games, or maybe the original Far Cry. What you probably wouldn’t have imagined is a cute orange alien trying to rescue his friends. But that’s exactly what the Frankfurt based studio’s latest venture is all about, as they take their first steps onto iOS devices.
Fibble: Flick ‘n’ Roll tells the tale of the cute bouncy alien of the title, Fibble, who crash lands on Earth into a family house, losing his four friends in the process. Throughout the game, Fibble is joyously reunited with his friends, usually expressing it by flinging himself across the room and hugging them. These daft little interludes play out between worlds in rather well animated segments, and add a nice little framing device to proceedings. But we aren’t here for the narrative are we?
At first glance, Flick ‘n’ Roll looks absolutely incredible. The cartoony style, combined with the force of the CryEngine, allows for some wonderful details in and around the track. As each of the four worlds is set in a different room of the house, they all have their distinct themes. The bathroom has sponges and the odd rubber duck placed around, whereas the Kid’s Room levels all take place within a toy fort. The level of detail is fantastic, and it’s great to see it used within what could otherwise be a run of the mill casual game.
Flick ‘n’ Roll is a puzzle game based around, unsurprisingly, flicking Fibble so he rolls around the level, collecting coins, stars and eventually winding up in the goal. You begin at a set point, and choose the direction where Fibble will be fired. The levels are constructed with this in mind, and feature a variety of boosts, jumps and bumpers that can speed up, and sometimes slow down, your journey. The stars, however, aren’t featured on the most optimum path around the course, so you’ll need to plan out exactly which corners to take.
As mentioned before, Fibble is on the search for his lost friends throughout the game. They aren’t just a narrative drive though, as each of the game’s four worlds introduces a new friend as a new powerup, changing the way you move through the levels. The first, Byte, hides underground, and with a tap of the screen, will flick Fibble up into the air as he rolls over him. Docto is an octopus type creature who can fling Fibble in a chosen direction. Vroom gives Fibble a speed boost along his way. Ragno, the last alien you meet along the way, has the fantastic ability of swinging from the rafters and being able to grab Fibble as he rolls by, allowing you to leap over great gaps on onto entirely new sections of the course.
Whilst it might seem that Fibble is quite simple, the strategy comes in the placement of the different alien types around the course. You are provided with a selection of different types, and can place them in pre-assigned locations on the level. Combine a little bit of forethought with a little bit of trial and error, and you’ll figure out where each one needs to go. With most levels, there’s a “correct” configuration of aliens, and it probably what take you too many attempts to work it out. In fact, more of my time was taken up by activating each of the aliens powers at the correct time, as doing them too late or too early results in FIbble being flung right off the course.
Each level has a bronze, silver and gold medal available, and each is awarded for fulfilling specific objectives that tend to be breaking a specific point boundary. The coins scattered around the course add a small amount of points to your total, but the most points are gained by grabbing the three stars previously mentioned. These are often tucked out of the way, and require a little more planning than a straight dash to the level’s end. That said, the best placement for the aliens is often the same one needed to collect all the stars, so there’s often no real need to travel back into the levels to collect up the stars again.
Fibble: Flick ‘n’ Roll is a nice first attempt by Crytek at breaking into mobile games, but they don’t really seem to have given it their all. Whilst the graphics and general ambience of the game might be top work, the actual level and puzzle design leaves quite much to be desired. Whilst they might all look pretty enough, there’s not an awful lot of challenge OR replay value to be had. Even though the game does promise at more levels to come in the future, it doesn’t save Flick ‘n’ Roll from being a bit of a let-down.