Carrot War in Review – The Pen IS Mighter Than The Laser, At Least

Don’t get me wrong when I say this, because I still love the scrolling shooter genre, but even the good ones are becoming a bit of a routine these days.  Thankfully, Carrot War has decided to shake up that routine a bit.  Sure you still fight wave after wave of bad guys to get to the big bad boss of each world.  But the control mechanics are different than anything I’ve ever played before.  That’s good… and sometimes bad.  Mostly good, though.

Some nasty aliens have decided to steal all the carrots on your planet, and you’re the only bunny that’s rabbit enough to stand up to them.  You’ll don your flying cape and wield your magic marker… wait, what?  You heard me right – your weapon of choice is a yellow pen that apparently harnesses the power to take down ruthless creatures from another world.  You’ll have plenty of opportunity to test this theory, as the game has five areas that given the current pattern seem to be comprised of 12 levels and a boss.

First and foremost you need to stay alive.  To do this you drag your bunny around the screen.  He has no direct power over the aliens, but anything that hits him is bad.  You start a level with 3 lives, and each hit takes one away.  There is no way to recover lives that I’m aware of.  Some aliens have yellow dots around them.  To attack these aliens you must literally connect the dots by tracing over them.  The more aliens you get in one swipe the better your score, but you must keep a watchful eye because your pen will run out.  The pen does refill when you’re not using it, at least.

Some aliens have to be dragged together to destroy them, and still others must be dispatched using their own bullets.  Additionally, there are carrots to be picked up along the way by dragging the rabbit over them.  All of the controls work okay, but when there’s a lot going on it’s hard to be completely accurate with where you’re tapping / dragging.  As a result, you might think you’ve selected 3 or 4 aliens when in fact you only get one.  This is especially true on the ones where you need to connect the dots.  It’s not insurmountable, but it makes it a lot more difficult to get high scores on some levels.

Speaking of which, score is determined by the following four ingredients: number of carrots consumed, number of aliens caught, number of lives left over and maximum number of combos.  It appears that all you need to do is pass a level to move on to the next, but to earn between 1 and 3 stars on a level you must do well on the above mentioned categories.  The main problem is that you don’t know how well you need to do, and you can work real hard on some levels to barely get one star, yet on a level where it doesn’t feel like you did much you get 3 stars.  I’m not sure I like this trend towards making the ranking per level much harder to attain.

The visuals are quite charming.  Everything is colorful and looks like it popped of the pages of a kid’s comic book.  The characters are well animated, and there are some amusing sights like watching certain aliens jog to keep their ships spinning.  I also like the fact that structures are bunny-oriented (carrots in the first area and temples with bunny heads in the second, for example).  The sound effects are pretty plain.  There aren’t even really any cool noises from the aliens.  The music is fun, and there is a separate track for each area which is always nice.

Carrot War is a nice take on the scrolling shooter genre.  It provides some interesting game mechanics that can actually be a lot fun.  The biggest problem is that the mechanics don’t always work so well in situations where there is a lot going on.  The game supports multi-touch, but that can often actually get in the way even worse as you’ll cover up lots of bullets that are coming towards you.  This is a great game for fans of the genre, and really should be played and appreciated.  However, people that like their shooters “down to basics” will probably give up easily about ¾ of the way through the second area.

Grab It Rating - 4/5

App Summary
Title: Carrot WarDeveloper: SphinxEntertainment Co
Reviewed Ver:1.2Min OS Req:4.0
Price:$2.99App Size:26.04MB
  • Unique game mechanics
  • Plenty of levels
  • Colorful world
  • Fun music
  • Controls too precise for pressure situations
  • Rankings hard to achieve past first few levels

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