Jar On A Bar in Review – There’s A Dr. Seuss Joke Here Somewhere…

Physics based puzzle games are here to stay, and the desire to have a cute mascot is apparently not going away any time soon either.  Thankfully Jar on a Bar has a third element that will hopefully ultimately make it a good seller – it is very addictive.  The game even goes beyond that, however, as it takes a familiar concept and adds some mechanics that make it a whole new experience.  I would be willing to say that it is probably the best game I’ve played in its genre.  So let’s find out just what it is…

If you’ve ever played one of those games where you have an object on top of a pile of stuff, and you have to clear said stuff away so that you can get the object safely to the ground, then you’ll think you’ve played Jar On A Bar.  Yes there is an object – in this case a fish in a jar – and you have to remove objects to get the fish to river below.  The first object you’ll get to play with is wood, and instead of tapping to make it go away you simply flick the boards out of the pile one by one (or in multiples if you’re daring or clumsy).  The more stealthy players might choose to slowly slide some of the boards away.  The thing is, because of this flick and drag nature, the boards don’t always go completely off of the screen.

Eventually you get ice, and that requires a tap.  If you’re skillful enough you can tap multiple ice blocks at once, and there are times that you need to, but I struggle with that (purely my own fault, I believe, and not a deficit on the control’s part).  Some of the other things you’ll run into are missiles which launch on a timer and can drastically alter the “landscape”, teleports that can be manipulated ahead of time to insure safety, and metal bars with teeth, some of which close and others that don’t.  The variety of objects in the game is quite interesting, and it makes for some dynamics that I’ve never seen before in this style of game.  That’s probably why I enjoy it so much.

If you spill too much water out of the jar, or you inadvertently do something like drop the jar on the metal teeth, the level is automatically over.  As long as the jar makes it to the river with some water in it, the fish will jump out and the level is won.  You can earn up to three stars, and in an interesting twist you can earn partial stars, but you only need part of one star to finish the level.  On the other hand, you’ll need plenty of stars to unlock subsequent level sets, so earn them when you can.  You’ll also earn seashells which can be used to purchase consumable items like a shield or wings, and if you need the fast track shells can be purchased via IAP.  The game supports Game Center for leaderboards and achievements, and you can even play the title screen if you want.

The visuals have a cartoon like quality about them, which is especially evident in the opening scene that looks like a lost clip from The Little Mermaid Disney film.  The backgrounds could stand to have some more motion, but the main character is particularly well animated, especially when he’s worried by the moves you’re making.  The sound effects suit the game well, though it does sound like the fish has a hot tub in that jar of his.  The music is fun for the first few minutes, but then it gets really old.  If nothing else, it would have been nice if each world had its own theme.

This one of those games where I can truly say that it breaks some ground in its style of game play.  The flick and drag mechanics alone give the game a unique feel, and when you add things like missiles, teleports and bombs the game is on a whole different level than its competitors.  If you’re a fan of this type of game you won’t want to miss out.  And if you’ve been waiting for the genre to have that “something more”, Jar On A Bar is that something you’ve been waiting for.

Kiss It Rating - 5/5

App Summary
Title: Jar on a BarDeveloper: Chillingo Ltd
Reviewed Ver:Min OS Req:4.0
Price:$0.99App Size:
  • Mechanics unique to the genre
  • Interesting 3-star system
  • Cute main character
  • Cartoon like graphics
  • Some levels seem impossible without special items
  • Multi-touch can be tricky
  • Repetitive music

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