Sugar High in Review – Sweet Before the Crash

I really wanted to hate this game. Everything from the icon, to the design, to the introductory “story,” to the overly simplified controls initially made my skin crawl. I could only expect for this feeling to continue on as I trudged through next few hours of gameplay. It wasn’t until the fourth or fifth run through that I realized my cynicism had become, dare I say it, sugar coated. My frustrations began to find grounding in the fact that I wasn’t doing as well as I knew I could as opposed to a true aversion to the game itself. This is when I realized that I had more of a sweet tooth than I would have ever guessed.

Given their name, Shortbreak Studios seem to have achieved exactly what they were aiming for with Sugar High. The game is clearly intended for bite sized consumption with each play through (or “dream”) lasting less than five minutes. The story itself, if one could call it that, might as well be nonexistent. You play as a dog named Biscuit—although the only mention of his name seems to be in the game’s description—who was sent to bed without being fed. Sidestepping any obvious cliché’s, Sugar High tasks you with guiding Biscuit through his dreams of devouring as many sweets as possible while outrunning a ghastly and sincerely terrifying clock with teeth.

Spoiler alert! The entire game is a dream!

To some this task may actually seem too simple. You help Biscuit navigate the hilly cake terrain with only one action at your disposal: touching the screen. Anywhere. Thumb the direct middle of the screen if you so desire. Wherever you decide to touch, it causes Biscuit to build momentum by diving towards the ground. Subsequently, lifting your finger will lift him into the air. When timed right, you dive, land on the downslope of a hill, and launch yourself just before its peak (remember Tiny Wings?). The mechanics don’t exactly melt your mind in the way that those of the game QWOP would, but their simplicity still requires players to use tactful, challenging, and addictive dollops of precision and timing.

If it weren’t for these mechanics the game would be sorely lacking in redeeming qualities. The design is cute, but not original, the sound is catchy, but repetitive, and the story is barely as intriguing as the narrative recounting the reasons you went to work today. Luckily for Sugar High, and for the player, the gameplay alone is enough to carry it high into the cotton candy clouds.

The clock monster will haunt your dreams. Not Biscuit's dreams. Your dreams.

In spite of this, there are a few elements which keep Sugar High from reaching the ranks of many of the must-have bite sized games. For one, there is a serious lack of variety. While the gameplay works well and can easily entertain for a few hours, once the game begins to get stale there’s really no saving it. Where a staple game like Angry Birds has similar simplistic, pick up and play controls, it manages stay fresh by incorporating level variety and new tweaks along the way. A new puzzle mode, additional tricks, or some type of imagined storyline would likely double the time of consumption. Ideally this will be addressed in coming updates.

Levels take the form of "cakes," but don't bring anything different to the table aside from a new colour scheme.

Even still, Sugar High is well worth the price of admission. If you can look past some of the design issues (which, in all honesty, may not be issues at all to some people), and make it through a few rounds to familiarize yourself with the controls, you’ll be treated to yet another wonderful time waster.

App Summary
Title: Sugar High Developer: Shortbreak Studios
Reviewed Ver: 1.1 Min OS Req:
Price: $0.99 App Size: 47.89MB
  • Highly addictive, simplistic gameplay
  • Easy to play in short bursts
  • Friendly learning curve
  • Universal app
  • Suffers from a lack of variation
  • Overall design is somewhat unoriginal
  • Annoyingly repetetive music


Next ArticleiOS Deals of the Day – June 18th