Go Go Rescue Squad in Review – delivering Darwin

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Some little boys want to be firemen and others, cowboys. The former, however daring, may be suicidal, and the latter have never been kicked in the gonads by a horse. It hurts. Connect2Media have a great game for those little boys who grew up but still long to rescue damsels, toss people around, and in general, play the hero. Go Go Rescue Squad (GGRS) isn’t your typical fireman game. You won’t be dancing on a stage to the cheers of dozens of 30-something women, but your duties will introduce you to the mundane: crawling into collapsing buildings, saving people from torrid terrors; stopping fires, and sacrificing your muscles for the sake of an air-kiss or a suave snap of the fingers from Darwins. Realism is not the aim of this puzzler, and thank God it isn’t.

Rather, you, an unshaved digit-sized fireman must save the somewhat helpless Darwins (non firemen) from random fires, booby traps, their own stupidity, and your sometimes overly exuberant throws. Darwins are only safe once they reach an exit, and a level is finished when all Darwins escape. At your disposal are the most basic of tools: fire extinguishers, rescue partners, and sometimes, the Darwins themselves. Your limitations — the inability to jump over raised obstacles, and despite your incredible hefting power to throw a Darwin, you somehow cannot carry a Darwin down a ladder — will determine how a puzzle must be completed. Thus, there is often more than one way to finish a level.

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I won’t contend Connect2Media’s claim that there are 64 levels, but I also won’t claim that I’ve been all the way there. GGRS is often very difficult and sometimes requires exciting maneuvers. You can hop gaps, climb up and down ladders, fall from any height, toss Darwins, and pass off duties to your mates – all of which is accomplished by touching the screen, dragging throw angles, and zooming in order to enlist the help of your mates. Most of it works brilliantly. To move, just touch and hold, or drag in the direction you want to go. The same is true for climbing up and down ladders, gaping chasms, and dousing flames which exist on the same plane. Item interaction is nearly as simple: merely tap an adjacent object and then select the appropriate thought bubble which spouts out of your avatar. Items (including people) can be thrown, dropped, and stolen by simple tap commands.

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But using them isn’t as simple as one, two, three. The puzzle aspect of GGRS peak as levels get more complicated. You will have to prioritise rescue order and move firemen around in order to co-ordinate operations. For instance, you may need to Darwins from one fireman to another, but doing so may trap a fireman in a certain area when you will need him later. The same is true for items such as fire extinguishers and even certain traps. Because Darwins also have different personalities, they too an become tools. For instance, the Funzie will always clim ladders and where possible, use extinguishers to douse flames; screebs run around screaming and will fall off ledges, while Twonks carefully stay trapped where they are.

There is a lot to learn, but GGRS has an excellent tutorial which spans the entirety of one district: Training Camp. I strongly suggest running through the entire tutorial so that you become familiar with all moves, general functions, and object interaction.

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Rewind, a function which will both help and hinder your success is an interesting feature of GGRS. Darwins die very easily and your mates, who are vital in some puzzles can die when encountering the wrong obstacle at the wrong time. If at any time, a Darwin dies, the level will end with the appearance of the Grim Reaper. Rewind allows you to go back in time to save a life or return to a better place on the map, but also lowers your overall score for a level. Scores come in the metallic flavours: Bronze, Silver, and Gold; for the less than stellar result, you will be awarded a Rosette.The fervent cheers of football-fevered English fans, ‘we want gold’ echo in the back of my mind as I write this — probably because New Order was just spinning in my CD player — and much the same,  you should strive to pass with a medal. But even if this religious encouragement lends no help, you can access bonus Danger rooms for minimum of a bronze award in each level of a district; if you manage one gold, you will be rewarded with a Bonus Room where you can collect coins.

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Fearless in its fanfaronade, GGRS allows you to email your friends with boastful notes of your scores on a certain level. Of course, Connect2Media aren’t rooting for you; any email you send is their free advertisement. Alas, my scores will likely remain hush-hush in the busty innards of my own 1-year old touch 2G. More practical, however, is access to your iTunes library from within the game, but I cannot encourage its use: GGRS has a wonderful, lively soundtrack with funny sound effects. In fact, it is among my favourites on the platform.

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Worth a chuckle are the graphics and animations. The whole package is a visual throwback to my pimple-faced days playing SNES and Megadrive, not to mention the machine which proved that I wasn’t just anyone’s nerd: the Atari Lynx. I am not even sure that GGRS even displays 16 bits; colour-banding and simple sprites define the graphic style of GGRS in mimic 8-bit, but it is a brilliant move. The nostalgic look simply adds wonderful character to this game.

It is hard to nitpick because GGRS succeeds on so many levels, and as you explore further districts, proves that Connect2Media are innovative geniuses. But, controls, while generally excellent, have problem areas. When tossing an item, certain trajectories simply don’t work, or lop-sided despite the assurance of a green ‘thumbs up’ that everything will be okay. Similarly, because you drag an item to define its destination, your finger can cover up important parts of the map. Zooming in may help, but often, pinching and spreading simply fails to do its job.

But, that doesn’t matter. Go Go Rescue Squad is one of a handful of games that is well worth its price. Thought it is a port of the web-game, it plays as if it was meant for the iDevice and is one of the funnest games on my iPod touch. Control problems are swept aside in the overwhelming face of game items which just work. Connect2Media have not only done their homework, in creating Go Go Rescue Squad, they may well have re-written the book on fun puzzle games.

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App Summary
Title:Go Go Rescue Squad (V 1.1)Developer:Connect2Media
Price:$2.99App Size:17.9 MB
  • Cute, nostalgic graphics
  • Great sound track and effects
  • Unique twist to puzzle game
  • Funny
  • Challenging puzzles
  • Lot ‘o levels
  • iTunes library
  • Controls need overhaul

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