Up There in Review – Raise the Roof

upthere1Sometimes well executed simplicity is all it takes to make a great game. Up there is an amazing example of this concept. It has a singular objective, simple yet well done graphics, and one song. Yet, it captures that “it” quality that all developers are seeking in their games.

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In Up There, the goal is to maneuver the balloon past obstacles as it races upwards. There are five different levels, each with their own theme. It actually chronicles the ascent of the balloon, starting in the house with bookshelf obstacles, the attic with rafters, trees with their branches, the sky with clouds, and the… upper night sky???… with stars. As each stage is passed, I actually find myself rooting on that little red balloon, and there even small sigh of relief when I reach the transition points between levels.

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The game is played through well implemented accelerometer controls. The movement of the balloon feels neither too loose or too unresponsive. As each stages progresses faster and faster, you find just how well balanced Veiled Games made it. It doesn’t once become a distraction, but Up There allows you to worry about passing the obstacles instead of worrying about controlling the balloon.

Perhaps the greatest characteristic of Up There is its music. “The Joy of Sky” is a song that helps to create a whimsical yet dulcet tone to the whole experience. It almost, in my opinion, puts the game in a level above its competition. It also helps with the emotional tempo as you play. The song plays faster and you go from level to level creating an almost involuntary anxiety as you seek for the physical and metaphysical freedom of the balloon. It makes playing the game over and over a joy as well.

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The inclusion of both a local and global leader board does add to the re-playability as well. It’s easy to find yourself going back to play one or two rounds of Up There time and time again. It that sort of game.

Unfortunately, one option that would have been a great addition is not to be found. That is the inclusion of a pause button. There are times where I have an itch my nose that I can’t scratch, lest I forfeit the game. This simple mechanic would add tremendously to the game. For those that may use this for nefarious reasons, blacking to the screen during the pause would mitigate this.

EDIT:
I’d like to thank Ben who commented on this game. Up There does include an in-game pause option. I was unaware of this as there was no mention in the help section. While playing, you can touch the screen to pause the game. There an option to turn the sound off and to continue.

Up There is a great game. It is simple, but draws you to play again and again. It is well worth the $1.99 asking price, and it rightly deserves a place on my iTouch.

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App Summary
Title:Up ThereDeveloper:Veiled Games
Price:$1.99App Size:6.1 mb
  • Re-playability
  • Great Soundtrack
  • Well Implemented Controls
  • Singular gameplay mode

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