January 20th, 2010
- Platform: iPhone or iPod Touch with operating system 3.0
- Developer: Ryan Chisolm & Bennet Foddy
- Price: 59p from iTunes App Store
If you, like me, grew up scribbling cutaway drawings of secret army bases or have a soft spot for isometric pixel graphics, you’ll appreciate Evacuation’s depiction of a space-age cargo freighter. If that doesn’t appeal, simple gameplay which favours forethought over a timer or quick reactions makes for a pleasantly paced puzzle.
It’s your job to rescue the crew of a cargo ship (cargo curiously absent) by ejecting the man-eating aliens aboard into space. This is done by touching colour-coded gates to open them, triggering any corresponding gate. Aliens will eat any people they can get their tentacles on, and in spite of their space suits the crew will die if they are ejected. In a nice touch everyone (human) is named, but the worryingly satisfying squeaks they make as they’re sucked out of the ship are sure to ease any guilt this might usually leave you with, and the sight of their little lifeless bodies spiralling around outside shouldn’t be amusing… but it is. If the captain or an officer is lost or eaten it’s game over for the other survivors, as they’re required to pilot the ship.
At first only one colour of door will need to be opened to get rid of all the aliens, but as you progress it becomes necessary to look before you leap, carefully manoeuvring before opening external doors. Crew members can be told to gather in a particular spot by placing a flag, but here’s where you’re likely to come across the biggest problem with the game: your fat fingers. The touchable area of each gate or room is very small, and this can cause you to accidentally open a door and vent your little friends into the void when you meant to lead them into another room. However, as frustrating as it can be, with some practice it can be avoided by using your pinkie or the tip of your finger for more accurate pointing.
Although the graphics aren’t pixel-perfect and the controls require a bit too much precision, Evacuation has charm and style on top of a solid, entertaining concept, making it well worth your 59p.