Sunday, 21 December 2014

The Gopher Chase - 4.5 Stars


What is it?
The Gopher is a fast paced flappy bird-esque game where you get points for moving a Gopher through a never ending course. As you go forward, left or right, you get a point each move, whilst avoiding rocks and running out of time, as you attempt to go the furthest distance. This is a brightly coloured game which is easy to learn but difficult to master. 

When you first open up the game you are greeted by a lovely bright menu with a cute Gopher dancing in the middle of the screen and flappy bird-style fonts. From this screen you can 'Rate' the app, tap 'Top' to see the leaderboard or press 'Play' where you choose from a range of game modes.

From the 'Play' button you are taken to an option screen where you can choose from eight options, some that are time-driven and others that are points-driven. I started on Classic mode as that seemed the Normal, or Standard, mode! 

The game screen is split into two parts. The bottom of the screen is taken up with a left, right and up arrow with the main body being the game. The game is green in background with a scattering of rocks. The aim of the aim is to go as far as you can without hitting a rock. I kept dying without hitting a rock so was getting a little annoyed...then I noticed the timer bar at the very top of the game.  Basically you have to keep going as quickly as possible and it keeps your timer charged up, if you delay for even a second the timer runs out.

One thing that did bug me about the games is that once you have selected a mode you can't get back to the main menu to change to another. To overcome this I had to force close and re-enter the app.  This was a little annoying but I am sure not too complex to fix. I will say that after a few plays of this, I found that if you hit the pause button, you can return to the main menu, but i would have thought this would be available from the 'Game Over' screen.

As I (I should say we as my partner loves this game!) was reviewing the app I wanted to look at all the game modes, and although it was frustrating to force close the app, it was worth it. So here they are:

10 seconds / 30 seconds mode - these are speed modes where you have to gain as many points as possible within the selected time.

Marathon mode - score as many points as you can within 100 seconds. If you die before the 100 seconds is up then it is 'Game Over' but its a great opportunity to test your tapping speed and agility to move around the screen. 

Impossible mode - as you tap the buttons to negotiate the course, they randomly change directions, i.e. the up button becomes the left button, so you have to take it slower to get a lot of points here. It's a good twist to the game as you have to pay attention and be very quick...I am rubbish at this mode!

Stop and Go - is a mode that's a little like musical statues! Basically you play as normal but the screen will flash up STOP and you've got to resist hitting any buttons or you die. When the screen flashes GO you can resume play. Obviously if you hit a rock you still die (which I did often!). 

Relay mode - is split into two stages 'Easy' and 'Hard'. In the Easy version you are given 8 seconds to get a score of at least 40. If you do, then you are given another 8 seconds, and so on until you do not hit 40 within the 8 seconds. In the Hard version you need to get 50 to get another 8 seconds, and this really is difficult to do unless you have an insane tapping action. You can still die in either mode if you hit a rock.

I did notice that the GameCenter only records the Classic and Impossible mode score and a collective total, which is a shame as we have had great fun trying to beat each other on the various modes. 

I enjoyed this game, its strongly addictive but highly frustrating!

Now for some ratings.....

Ease of use - 3.5 
This game is simple to use, once you figure it out. The game would really benefit from providing some instructions or a tutorial for the first time user. There are no descriptions for any of the modes within the game itself, but I did find them on the App Store, which I rarely read. 


Price - 5
This is a free app and I didn't notice any in app purchases. 

Adverts - 3
There are ads in this game. They tend to appear every third game play but are easily closed.  The please rate me window also appears as frequently and doesn't have the option to stop asking. 

Overall Rating - 4
There are a couple of things that have stopped me nudging this to a five, but I do really like this game! The inability to change the mode of play from the game over menu is frustrating and it did take us two days to find the option from the pause menu. The other frustration is the lack of in app instructions or tutorials.  Please don't let these minor items stop you from downloading this app as it is highly addictive and well made. This is a definite hit in my household!

Keep, jury is out or delete - Keep
No doubt about it this is a keeper! We have had great fun with the Gopher and even if you are watching people play it is very amusing, due to the frustrating screams when the timer catches you. 249 is the highest we have achieved in Classic mode, and 515 in Marathon mode... dare you to beat it!

Where to find it:
Apple: https://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/the-gopher/id947291741?mt=8