PUFFINGTON – WATERLOGGED IOS ADVENTURE

For those curious as to what it’s like being a blow fish – a monocle toting one at that– look no further! Oh, and don’t worry, your secret is safe with us. Puffington is an underwater side-scrolling platform-type adventure, in which “adventure” is used lightly. The story goes something like this: Blowfish meets worm – on a hook – then blowfish proceeds to save worm. Following said daring rescue, worm is…well, worm-napped. It’s a story as old as time itself, or near enough to it.screen_02_map As the protagonist Puffy, Hojo Studio tasks you with saving the wormsle in distress. Who is this villain threatening the love of your life, you ask? He is none other than Count Eelsworthy, the evil eel. Makes sense, I suppose. As the blowfish traverses his underwater world, in the attempt to save his new love, more than a few obstacles are encountered. Let us begin our dive into the deep unknown with the beauty that is the artwork though. The amount of time spent on this particular aspect of the endeavor is obvious – or seemingly so. Despite the color-less, yet attractive, style of the scenery, the charm of this title is held back by its delivery. Although one may think as much, this fact does not detract from the inspired sepia-toned world, considering how well it has been developed. Along this line, another item deserving the spotlight is the character design. The look and near-evident personality they provide, more specifically. This appeal definitely leaves both aspects feeling more a part of the aquatic theater than does the actual gameplay.screen_03_level1 Aside from the evil eel and his baddies, general gameplay, and its mechanics, will be one of the prior-stated obstacles. Tap and hold the screen to puff up – or inflate – the hero. This is what controls vertical movement, and precision is not to be worried about here, and isn’t implemented either. Constant on-screen tapping is required to maintain any type of level-plane movement, or to make incremental adjustments for that matter. This quickly becomes an annoyance – to say the very least – and leads to a sore index finger, thumb, or combination of both. I would not have found this to be so bad, if not for the need of precision while swimming one’s way through danger. Obstacles in the form of terrain are scarce at best in the beginning, and hardly provide a challenge when making an appearance. Paired with the occasional pearl-shooting clam, the first few stages sail on by, seemingly unnoticed.screen_04_level2 What does garner plenty of focus though, is the “soundtrack” – though it’s more just music really, and the attention isn’t a good thing. It becomes clear, very early on, not much time was invested in the musical composition department. It is basically a three to five second bar of music on a loop, and leaves one longing for a little sensory deprivation. This appears to indicate a cookie-cutter composition, found on most any development website providing free assets. With this in mind, repetition finds itself featured as the theme – sadly.screen_05_store Enter screen-left, puff up and deflate, exit screen-right. Lather, rinse, and repeat. The only changing design element throughout this monotonous dive are the chunks of underwater terrain. In addition to this, the size of said terrain rarely varies. So, although there is a bit of diversity, it is trumped by repetition – once again. Every part seems lacking in random generation, including enemy AI patterns. These remain wholly unchanged. This wouldn’t necessarily be a drawback, as customization generally provides the sense of exclusivity, though isn’t the case in this instance. Yet another uninspired loop rears its ugly sea monster-like head. As is the situation for the entire title, consistency exists, just in the wrong areas. The only real saving graces are the sepia-toned visuals, amusing characters and the game’s length. Upon completion, time in-game weighed in at two hours. If the ability to jump right in, mindlessly complete levels, and have difficulty recollecting a story is what you’re looking for, this is it. I will otherwise recommend steering clear of using all-too precious phone memory on this title.

4.5

Good Things

  • It's free!
  • Inspired atrwork

Bad Things

  • Uninspired gameplay
  • Repetitive soundtrack
  • Poor level design

The Breakdown


GAMEPLAY
5
VISUALS
8
SOUNDTRACK
3
REPLAYABILITY
2




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