SpinTrip [99¢] from ClickGamer (Chillingo) is a 2D platform game about a rolling wheel with magical abilities. Your task is to hop inside the wheel, then roll, jump, fly or float it to the end of the level. There's things to collect and enemies to avoid or kill, but it's the wheel and various magical abilities which makes this game interesting and differentiates it from other platformers.
In the introduction, an old woman explains that the nasty gants have stolen five magical shims and 'Tisu must now use his chibwheel to collect chibs and find a shimloon portal to rescue them. ...umm, say what? But don't let the unusual names put you off, because this game is actually really easy to play.
You start by choosing a character to stand inside the rolling chib-wheel. The options are: Noss (boy) or Lillme (girl), It doesn't matter which you choose as this is purely cosmetic. By using the left, right and jump buttons, you can gain enough speed to roll the wheel across hilly terrain, caves and platforms, bouncing off leaf-trampolines and gaining points from snowflakes, stars and kidney beans. Actually they're given another unusual name, but I don't want to translate more words like: nietche, zlepts, popples and powkiss, so lets just call them kidney beans!
Within the levels are colorful little characters to collect, called "chibs". Once a chib hops inside the wheel with you, you gain their magical ability. For example the "leap" chib makes the wheel jump higher, "spitter chibs" spit seeds at your enemies like a weapon, and the "swim" chib makes the wheel buoyant, so you can cross pools of water. Specific magical abilities are needed to pass certain obstacles, so sometimes you need to backtrack to explore for a certain type of chib.
Once you've collected multiple chibs, the wheel starts looking pretty crowded, but that's good because it means you're loaded up with plenty of abilities to choose between. Eight icons are displayed along the top of the screen, representing each type of chib you might find, but you can only select one at a time. The main action button at the bottom of the screen triggers whichever ability is selected at the top. Some platform games are almost non-stop movement, but in SpinTrip there's plenty of starting and stopping as you reach different obstacles, choose the appropriate ability, use it, then switch back afterwards.
Each special ability can only be used a limited number of times, so you need to activate them carefully, otherwise your swim ability may expire while you're floating or you could get stuck at the bottom of a cliff with no way to climb it. In these situations you can search for more chibs, or restart from the last milestone on the level. Once you locate and enter the portal at the end of the level, you're given a 3-star score based on points from collected treats, enemies killed and chibs collected.
The world map shows 16 levels (each of a reasonable size) which you unlock sequentially. However the map doesn't display an overview of your 3-star ratings, making it difficult to easily spot which levels require another attempt. Leaderboards and just five achievements for finding collectables are managed via Chillingo's Crystal and Game Center.
A few minor issues were noted. Firstly, it's frustrating when your spitter weapon occasionally misses an enemy right in front of you or beside an almost in-perceivable rise in the ground, since the aiming is automatic. Secondly, the sound effects seem rather quiet compared to other games. Thirdly, two levels appear to have the same name listed. And lastly, there's a "Chib Index" in the main menu, which lists the various chibs, but once you reach the bottom of the list you can't scroll back up.
SpinTrip isn't the first platform game to use a rolling mechanism, as there's various ball rolling games available, but it's a nice twist to gain power-ups by collecting little characters who jump into your wheel. It's not the most challenging platform game, with chibs generally being plentiful and easy to locate, but it's fun to play, making this a casual but solid platforming experience.
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