There’s been a lot of positive buzz about Storm in a Teacup, both before and after the first time I attempted to play it. After muddling through the first 2 levels I just didn’t get the appeal of the game. Luckily I had committed to reviewing it, so I forced myself to pick it back up and move on to level 3. It didn’t take long for me to realize that this is one of the best platform games I’ve got on my device right now. I think the visuals sometimes border on amateurish, and I’ll get to the music later, but overall I am so glad I stuck with it to see what the game had to offer.
You play Storm, who sets about in a teacup to navigate the wonderful and dangerous world imagined by his brother Cloud. Your teacup is basically in a constant state of motion, though with just the right taps you can get it to where it appears to be standing still. There are left and right arrows to navigate, and a power button to jump. The left and right are pretty responsive, though I wish they were just a bit further apart. The jump is multi-faceted, and there are many times when you want to use a succession of quick taps instead of a single thrust to achieve better control over your jumps. It takes some getting used to, but can be quite powerful when mastered.
There are 3 objectives to each level. The first is simply to get to the end, but that doesn’t get you much of a reward. If you can find the sticker hidden on a given level it will open up a customization option for you (things like changing Storm’s hair color or decaling his cup). Sugar cubes are scattered throughout the level that you will want to collect. If you get the sticker, collect all the cubes and get to the finish without losing a life you’ll earn a gold star. There are 20 basic levels and 20 advanced levels to conquer, as well as survival and challenge modes to unlock, though I’m not quite sure what magic opens up the latter two modes. Overall there is enough to keep you busy without making you feel like you will never complete the game but while still providing plenty of replay value.
The levels are very well designed once you get past the first two. Bad guys abound, and since there is no way to kill anything you have to maneuver your way out of harm. There are several “clear the path” puzzles, and a couple of places where you actually get a mini shooting gallery. There’s even a nice little homage to Donkey Kong early on. And you best think again if you’re figuring that those sticker pieces are going to be easy to retrieve, because they are in some far away places indeed. I’m just glad that while the level is timed there’s no way to run out of time, so you can explore at your will. That’s the way a platform game should be.
The graphics are kind of a mixed bag for me. The title screen is pretty cool, but then you get into the first level and it looks like a cheap copycat of the trendy “make everything look like paper” visuals. Storm and the teacup don’t even look all that good. However, once you start getting more obstacles and bad guys the graphics get exponentially better, especially when it comes to the backgrounds. It’s still no Cardboard Castle or Zombies vs. Sheep, but it looks good none the less.
The sound effects actually do a really good job of bringing the dream world to life. Instead of just the basic “one noise for picking up things and everything else sounds the same”, you have smashing barrels and chomping sharks and spitting clouds – and you can tell what’s what before it shows up on the screen. As for the music, I really enjoyed it. I was a bit bothered by the fact that I’d heard the tune for the first few levels in half a dozen other games (don’t get me wrong, though, it’s a good song), but suddenly I got to a level with a new song and all was forgiven.
This is one of those rare occasions where the hype is true, so if you’ve read this far, you’re a platform game fan and you haven’t bought this yet, shame on you. Sure it would be nice if Storm looked a little better, and the spacing on the controls slightly less cramped, but none of this will ultimately dampen your enjoyment of the game. Just be prepared to visit some levels many times to get all the awards for that level – but at least you’ll have fun doing it.
|Title:||Storm in a Teacup||Developer:||Chillingo Ltd|
|Reviewed Ver:||1.2||Min OS Req:||3.0|
|Price:||$0.99||App Size:||18.7 MB|