Zup! in Review – What Goes Zup…

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These days the “infinite” mold takes on many different shapes and sizes.  You have your traditional runners, vehicular based romps, games where you’re constantly falling or in cases like this a flight to the ends of the universe (or at least to Mars).  Cool graphics, jazzy music and a number of achievements give you reason to keep coming back, but the lack of upgradable anything seems to be curbing my enthusiasm just a bit.

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Top Hat Joe just wants to reach for the stars, and it’s your job to help him fulfill his dreams.  The problem is that things like skull balloons, laser barriers and UFOs that shoot fireballs all do their part in trying to stop Joe from having a good time.  Luckily you can acquire temporary power ups like a gun or helmet that takes out the opposition or a magnet to attract stars to you so that you can stay out of harm’s way.  You’ll also occasionally run into hot air balloons that both give you an inflated sense of ego and add an extra life to your roster.  Don’t allow this to let you take your guard down, however, because no matter how many lives you have hitting enough of the wrong things will eventually end your trip and force you to start again.

Navigating Top Hat Joe is a simple matter of tilting your device left and right.  You do need to keep in mind that Joe will wrap around the screen, so make sure that when you’re trying to escape one obstacle by drifting “out of bounds” that you don’t end up colliding with something on the other side.  The game offers 2 leaderboards via Game Center.  One is for longest distance travelled and the other is for highest score.  I’m not sure what all gives you score, though I know collecting stars is one of the possibilities.  There are also 27 different achievements to earn, and while not all of them are overly difficult I think you’ll find that trying to get them all will keep you busy for a while.  The one thing I really missed was the fact that there were no power ups to upgrade or anything like characters or outfits to unlock.

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Visually the game is a cross between good sixties cartoons and the animated sequences in a Monty Python movie.  Object designs are well done and everything is nicely animated.  I like some of the little touches like your head growing bigger as you gain lives.  The sound effects are kind of a mixed bag, but the music further solidifies the whole Saturday morning cartoon feel the game exudes.  It’s definitely an atmosphere that both kids and adults can appreciate.

Zup is a fun infinite floater in a kooky Saturday morning setting.  It’s easy to get into and even if you’re not the kind of person to compete with others in leaderboards the achievements will keep you coming back for some time.  I just wish there were elements to upgrade or unlock to make you feel like the stars were really worth collecting.  I know the stars embellish the score, but to me the real joy in this style of game is getting a higher score because I’ve upgraded something to the next level.

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App Summary
Title: ZUP! Developer: e4 software
Reviewed Ver:  1.0 Min OS Req:  iOS 6.0
Price: $0.99 App Size:  69.5 MB
  • Easy to grasp
  • Decent assortment of achievements
  • Cool visuals
  • Fun atmosphere
  • No unlocks or upgrades
  • Screen can get cluttered

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