An entourage of cute animals, some beautiful hand-painted visuals, and a fantastic soundtrack with music supplied by Leavon Archer, Mighty Mill’s Tanuki Forest [$0.99] is a huge breath of fresh air compared to the increasing number of mediocre endless runners that are gradually finding their way onto the App Store. This may be Mighty Mill Games first project, but the team behind this charming new and exciting game has had plenty of past experience, with titles like TimeSplitters and Criterion's Black as part of their credentials.
Your goal is to manoeuvre a flying squirrel through an endangered forest, rescuing as many animals as possible along the way whilst avoiding the hazards and keeping out of harms way. If you collide with one of those treacherous looking spiky objects, then it’s curtains for you and your chain of animal friends, but luckily as you advance throughout the forest there are various gates in which to deliver them to safety. That said, the more gates you skip over, the better your multiplier bonus, so sometimes it works in your favor to take a risk then play it safe.
Thankfully, Mighty Mill Games doesn’t overcomplicate things when it comes to their simple one-touch control system. Gliding your squirrel protagonist through the air requires simply holding down your finger upon the screen; in turn, letting go will cause squirrely to fall towards the forest ground. That’s not all though; as you advance throughout the game, you will be able to switch to other spirit creatures that each require a different method of command. Each time a new spirit creature is encountered, a new control system is then explained, and gameplay continues onward with this new guide. Though it’s literally all one-tap based, this simple change of tactics keeps things highly interesting and new.
Along the way, you’ll collect Kami, which in turn can be exchanged to purchase various power-ups, outfits, animals, magic trails or items for the den. Surprisingly enough, Tanuki Forest is fairly generous, for a free game. You won’t ever find yourself reaching into your bank account to keep yourself entertained, and there’s always something new to experience throughout. For example, there are also a set number of challenges for each run-through that require achieving certain goals as you advance. This could be anything from holding a chain multiplier, passing through a specific number of gates, or rescuing a specific number of animals.
Yes, Tanuki Forest is an endless runner at its core, but it’s beautifully designed, highly original, and incorporates new and exciting elements of play to keep things interesting. Whatever Mighty Mill’s influence where Tanuki Forest is concerned, it’s without a doubt a leading front runner and full of charm. It excels in areas where others have failed, and doesn’t make you feel like you’re constantly on a road leading to nowhere. Kids and adults alike will love it, and it’ll definitely keep you entertained for countless hours.
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