If you're one of the many people who always loved the Super Monkey Ball games on consoles, but never could really get in to the iPhone and iPad iterations because of control issues (I'm definitely one of those people), Aerox [$1.99] by Synoptical Studios is worth checking out. Aerox features extremely clean looking graphics, almost as if the game itself was designed as some part of a Aperture Science training program. This graphical style is paired with soothing music which creates an oddly relaxing experience-- A phrase I never really thought I'd use to describe a ball rolling puzzle game.

Much like Super Monkey Ball, the object of Aerox is to roll your ball to the end of each level. In between the beginning and the pillar of light you must reach are all kinds of crazy obstacles ranging from simple ramps, moving platforms, and narrow platforms. It doesn't take long for the difficulty of the game to ramp up and throw other physics-based obstacles at you. For instance, you'll need to bump in to tall skinny blocks to get them to fall over to make a bridge to cross, other times there will be objects you need to move around to pass, or even move out of the way so a ramp can drop down to climb up.

The ball is controlled by tilting, and tilting your device back and forth controls rolling while tilting right or left controls the camera. For additional precision, you can touch and hold the screen and the camera will lock behind your ball at which point tilting right or left causes you to roll that direction. It's a pretty decent setup, although I have found myself rolling out of control by tilting too much and having the camera skew to an unexpected angle. A sensitivity slider in the options would likely solve this problem, which the developer has mentioned is coming in an update in the Aerox thread on our forums.

Aerox utilizes the graphical power of the iPhone 3GS, 3rd generation iPod touch, and iPhone 4 to do realtime reflections on the ball along with some fancy shadow generation not available on other devices. Currently the game runs at the typical 480x320 iOS game resolution, but in the not too distant future is getting updated with complete Retina Display support along with universal iPad compatibility.

With 30 levels to go through, online leader boards (although they haven't been working for me), and updates on the horizon to make the game take advantage of the increased resolution of iPad and iPhone 4, there's a lot to like about Aerox. The game isn't perfect, as I'd love to see some mid-level checkpoints added, but people on our forums are enjoying it, and it's easy to get behind any game with developers actively participating in the forums with plans to implement user suggestions in future updates.

TouchArcade Rating

  • j

    could this visual style look any more like Portal?

  • Xeliorones

    I played portal and don't see what you mean, is there a single can of water in portal? :-) When levels are simple the game seems a little tedious but but end of video seems show something different.

  • Sam

    I don't like how the camera moves in the game.

    • Eli Hodapp

      Tapping and holding locks the camera in place, I didn't like the tilt to pan the camera system either until I got used to when to switch in and out of the locked camera mode.

      • Sam

        I know about the tapping and holding to lock the camera but it still feels a bit off. I would have much rather the camera moved by itself correctly.

  • Shirokami

    SUPERJUMP!

    • george

      but not as good.

  • Mitch

    I'm not keen on the camera setup either. I'm surprised that was not mentioned by anyone in the forums.

    Hopefully this will be fixed in the next update.

    • SKT

      I hope so, too. That is what is keeping me from buying this.

      • MArv

        Same here.

  • Radeon123

    Camera was a pain at first but I soon got the hang of it. Would love the option to have checkpoints either as permanent part of the game or something than can turned off in the menu, because one mistake and you have to start again and this can be a bit frustrating.

    Overall though it's a really fun game to play and can't wait to see the retina display version :)

    • Joe90

      I agree that checkpoints need to be added.

  • David

    Does this remind anyone else of the morph ball from the metroid prime trilogy?

    • http://battlebornmusic.com Battle Born

      reminds me of super monkey ball... but PLAYABLE!

  • Mindfield

    I actually found the camera quite intuitive. Coupled with the tap-to-lock (and if you so desire, drag to rotate) it felt quite natural and easy to come to grips with. But then I suppose I'm used to that sort of thing in ball rollers.

    • Thegoat

      Great game that will look amazing with Retina Display. Couple of things to improve the game:

      A) more levels! 30 not enough.
      B) checkpoints needed.
      C) online multiplayer? A race to the finish online would be amazing!

  • http://www.solarsmarty.com Solarsmarty

    nice!

  • http://mn8multimedia.com Mn8Multimedia

    Great concept. Nice work!

  • http://radiantsol.com RadiantSol

    I like the zen like concept and the music.

  • http://www.unrealphd.com UnrealPHD

    Its nice to see other game studios making unique games like this. Great work. - UnrealPHD Games

  • Ggore

    I found the camera and controls to be unworkable. One false move and your ball is rolling off a platform no matter which direction you tilt, forward or backwards. Add that to the fact you have to be moving at full tilt through an entire level in order to have enough speed to fly across gaps, and the game was a complete exercise in futility for me. I quit and uninstalled after 16 levels. I got tired of playing each one 78 times to get the entire thing right and having to repeat each level in its entirety. I understand why the game is this way, you have to have total speed from beginning to end to make it through a level. There is no way you can finesse your way around obstacles slowly because if you don't have enough speed you won't make it past the next obstacle.

    • Jon

      Agreed 100%. The way the camera is at the moment makes the game unplayable. I am deleting the game off my device until this gets fixed.

    • Eli Hodapp

      I'm curious what you thought of the Super Monkey Ball games because I'd describe them just about how you described Aerox, and actually thought the camera system in Aerox was the improvement that made playing these kind of games workable for me on the iPhone.

      • Jon

        I found the Super Monkey Ball games' camera system much better than that of Aerox's. SMB's wasn't the greatest but when compared to Aerox's camera system, I believe it is much easier to handle.

  • Wisle

    I hate the camera setup, as well.