How much of a multitasker are you? If you're anything like me, you've probably got a dozen tabs open in your browser, three other programs on your desktop and a game or two waiting on your phone. But that might just make you a singletasker with a short attention span. If you want to prove that you're pro at juggling tasks, pick up VineKing [$1.99 / Free]. It will put even the best multitasker to the test.

In VineKing, the green lands of the world have been destroyed, leaving nothing but cold stone, lava, and monsters. As the last Vine King, its your job to bring back the luscious greenery that once existed, but the forces of darkness won't give up easily. Each of the game's 30 levels is a piece of rock that you need to win back, and you only have one tool: the vine that grows from your head.

The vine can be used in two ways. To reclaim ground, draw a path over it. When the vine whips out, the rocks will shatter beneath that path and grass will grow through. To defeat the monsters that come to steal back the ground and destroy the Vine King, tap on them. Those two tasks will keep you occupied, but there's a problem: you only have so much vine to work with. Once your green meter goes dry, you're toast. To keep fueled, you need to collect the seeds that pop out of the cleared ground and from defeated monsters, but while you're sucking up seeds you're completely vulnerable.

While you're balancing those three tasks, the monsters are hard at work taking back the ground you've cleared. As the game becomes more difficult, it's easy to play yourself to a stalemate - as you clear more land, more monsters show up and take it back while you fend them off. To keep from getting overwhelmed, you can upgrade the Vine King. Each time you complete a level, you're ranked for how many seeds you picked up, how many monsters you destroyed, and so on. That rank translates to coins that you can use to purchase upgrades, like faster vines and better seed storage.

You'll need a well-upgraded Vine King and quick fingers to master later levels. As you progress, the monsters get faster and more aggressive. The levels also get more unfriendly, with lava pits that burn your vine and crystals that block your way. I found that grinding earlier levels for coins made later ones more manageable, but skilled multitaskers might be able to get by with less. You'll want to go back to earlier levels either way, to collect Game Center achievements and earn gold rankings.

VineKing is very loveable, with charming art and a soundtrack that keeps things stressful. It's also a strikingly original game. Our forum users seem to love it, and there's a lite available if you remain unconvinced. You'll be giving your drawing, tapping and gathering skills a workout in no time.

TouchArcade Rating

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  • Inohabloespanol

    This reads like a press release. Where's the critique in this review?

    • http://toucharcade.com Eli Hodapp

      We enjoyed the game. What critique were you looking for?

      • Inohabloespanol

        I just feel as though the first five (of the six total) paragraphs merely describe what the game is instead of critiquing what is and isn't GOOD about the game. Of course the monsters get more aggressive as you go. Of course players will want to go back to get Game Center achievements. We know this, and I'm sure that if we don't, the App Store page for the game will tell us, as would a PR representative for the game. 

        It's not a bad review. It's very well-written, in fact. But where's the insight? Where's that critical eye that can impress into the minds of the readers the knowledge of what it FEELS like to play the game? Telling me that I need a well-upgraded Vine King to master later levels isn't something that I want a reviewer to do––I crave opinion and thoughtful, reflective writing. 

      • Inohabloespanol

        Adding onto that thought:

        Admittedly, it's really hard to regularly deliver the sort of insightful, reflective writing that I'm talking about. Very few writers can do it consistently. But as I read this review, I just kept asking myself if each line sounded like something out of a press release, and almost all of it did. That's why I posted my original comment.

      • https://twitter.com/#!/NissaCam Nissa Campbell

        I totally understand what you're getting at, but here's the problem: I only have a few hundred words to tell people what the game is about and critique it. If I spend them waxing poetic about my feelings on the gameplay experience, most readers will be frustrated that I didn't bother to actually tell them anything about the game. So I err on the side of information - tell the people what they want to know, and give my impressions on how well the game does whatever it's doing.

        But I'll certainly keep your criticism in mind.

      • http://twitter.com/mmthorn Matthias Thorn

        I don't think he was asking anyone to "wax poetic", he was just looking for a knowledgeable gamer to say what he/she liked and didn't like about the game and why. Now we understand that sometimes the writers can fit that in and sometimes they can't. I appreciate this kind of response.

      • http://toucharcade.com Eli Hodapp

        I think your problem is that you misunderstand the purpose of TouchArcade. At the end of the day, we're just a filter for the App Store and serve as a discovery site for cool games that we liked that we think our readers should check out. Especially for simpler games like VineKing, this doesn't always translate into in-depth hard-hitting critiques. If you crave opinion and thoughtful, reflective writing, a web site that focuses on 99¢ video games probably isn't going to be the best source for that.

      • Inohabloespanol

        Fair enough. Thanks for the response!

  • Anonymous

    @Inohabloespanol
     Yeah, i've been lurking here @toucharcade since the appstore came out and i have found many, many , way too many games that i thought were great highlights to be pointed out when scanning the site from time to time.  This became my best source and the forum community on all these games are also well informed and have many different opinions on games that make the front page of toucharcade and many gems that don't make it to the front page.  Check out the forums for the more in depth stuff. You'd be surprised how much is in there.  

  • lindy

    Thank you for your willingness to share my understanding of
    game! You have done a formidable job and our entire community will be grateful to you. You should keep it up forever! Good Luck.

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VineKing Reviewed by Nissa Campbell on . Rating: 4