If you like chucking gnomes (and who doesn't?), you need to be aware of Chuck Gnome [$1.99/Lite] from developer Movable Sprites. Essentially, it's a mixture of Ramp Champ [$1.99] and MUST.EAT.BIRDS. [99¢/Lite], but with 100% more gnome flinging. The painfully simple mechanic of pulling back and launching gnomes at targets is bolstered with some complex level designs and excellent presentation. Simple enough that anyone can play, but requiring a surprising amount of skill and determination to be successful, Chuck Gnome is a game that is full of challenge and a lot of silly fun.

As the name implies, the task at hand is to chuck gnomes at various targets in the game. Each of the 5 levels (plus a bonus level) has the colorful, illustrated look of a children's storybook come to life. The levels also evolve as you play, with backgrounds and targets changing as you progress, sometimes resulting in a level that is completely different than it was when you started. It's quite a sight to behold, and coupled with the charming background music the presentation in Chuck Gnome is a real high point. The levels are set up like shooting galleries, with different targets moving as if on a track or popping up from the edges of the screen. Another neat aspect to the levels is the clever use of the accelerometer. Similar to the game Bowmaster [99¢], tilting to either side shifts your view to reveal more of the level, and can give you an extra chance to hit a missed target.

Simply pulling back on the slingshot at the bottom of the screen launches your gnome, and how much you pull him back dictates how far he will travel into the distance. You have an unlimited number of gnomes to launch, which may make it seem like you could rapidly spam gnomes to take out all the targets, and to a certain extent this is true. But this will only get you through the first few levels at best, as the later levels require precise aim to take out targets. Also, this tactic won't net very high scores due to the multiplier aspect of scoring. Successfully hitting targets in a row builds up a progressive multiplier, and thoughtful shooting can result in some monster scores.

The biggest issue I had with Chuck Gnome is that it can be very hard to progress in the game. Each level must be unlocked by finding a key in the previous level. Taking out certain targets before time runs out will result in the key popping up on screen, which must also be hit with a gnome to initiate. This can be difficult to pull off at times, but is definitely possible with perseverance especially as you learn which targets to shoot for in order to get the level to switch to its next set of targets eventually leading to the key appearing. Another minor issue is the sensitivity of pulling back the sling doesn't feel consistent. Sometimes it seems the slightest pull will send your gnome flying completely offscreen, and vice versa. You get used to it to an extent but it still feels rather touchy.

What appears to be an overly simplistic game on the surface actually has a ton of subtle depth, and Chuck Gnome is one of those games that's easy to pick up and play for short or long periods of time if you end up getting sucked in to maximizing your multiplier with precise gnome shooting. OpenFeint is in the game for online leaderboards and achievements, and it should take a good amount of time to play through every level. Even once completed, there's incentive to go back and try to top your previous high scores by playing a level more efficiently. Overall, Chuck Gnome combines a fun flinging mechanic with stellar visuals, and players are enjoying the game in our forums as well. If you're on the fence, give the lite version a try first. Content is fairly limited in the free version, but it will give you an excellent idea of how much you like the flinging mechanic the game hinges on.

TouchArcade Rating

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  • Jon

    Based on the amount of content and repetitiveness of the game, I would only buy it if it drops to 99 cents. At $1.99, I believe there are better games with more content to spend my money on.

    • TRock

      I agree. I would buy it if it was 99 cents too!

    • stickboyski

      I think the unique controls (there are other slingshot-y games out there, but they are mostly side-scrollers) make this game pretty awesome. Also, why do you rag on a game you could try for free before you buy it? Go play the game before you start making your dumb comments.

      I played the game and it's well worth the $1.99 I paid for it. There's so much crap in the app store, it's nice to finally see a release someone put a little bit of thought and craftsmanship into.

      • Jon

        Ehh I tried the lite version and it's okay. I feel like I have played this kind of game millions of times before in the App Store, nothing special.

  • Jon

    Based on the amount of content and repetitiveness of the game, I would only buy it if it drops to 99 cents. At $1.99, I believe there are better games with more content to spend my money on.

    • TRock

      I agree. I would buy it if it was 99 cents too!

    • stickboyski

      I think the unique controls (there are other slingshot-y games out there, but they are mostly side-scrollers) make this game pretty awesome. Also, why do you rag on a game you could try for free before you buy it? Go play the game before you start making your dumb comments.

      I played the game and it's well worth the $1.99 I paid for it. There's so much crap in the app store, it's nice to finally see a release someone put a little bit of thought and craftsmanship into.

      • Jon

        Ehh I tried the lite version and it's okay. I feel like I have played this kind of game millions of times before in the App Store, nothing special.

  • JCat

    Looks good, but man, I'm tired of these endless play it on line at the supermarket games. Need more depth..

  • JCat

    Looks good, but man, I'm tired of these endless play it on line at the supermarket games. Need more depth..

Chuck Gnome Reviewed by Jared Nelson on . Rating: 3.5