Back in February, Sticky [99c / HD] developed by Gamistry, was released for the iPhone. This month and the recent release of the iPad version made the game re-appear on our radar, and it still has some good things and not so good things about it.
The game opens with an entirely ridiculous storyline: Two scientists with ironic names – Dr. Bunsen and Dr. Globule – were trying to create the perfect energy source, but their experiment went terribly wrong and accidentally created an orange jelly creature, named ‘Sticky’. Dr. Bunsen decided to adopt Sticky as his own son, and in a remarkable coincidence, their next experiment also had unexpected consequences causing Dr Globule to lose his mind and become evil. He’s now locked in his laboratory where he’s creating grey monsters, called ‘toxins’, to pollute the world.
So Sticky ends up in an underground cavern, surrounded by orange jelly, where he’s confronted by evil toxic sludge-monsters.
The controls are based on dragging the jelly to catapult poor Sticky around. There’s jelly on the ground, walls and roof, so you fling yourself around the level, trying to head-butt toxins, before they reach the exit pipe. You can use walls to your advantage, by bouncing off them or rebound off multiple enemies to string a combo together. Some crushed enemies turn into a tap-able icon, which earn you an ability, such as transforming into a large sticky ball to crush enemies or gaining a targeting system that let’s you tap toxins directly without any flinging required. You can also acquire a powerful rock-shield, which wraps around you, so you can fearlessly bash into anything toxic.
There’s three game-modes: Story, survival and time attack. Most of the game is based around story mode, which has 40 levels. There’s a decent variety of enemies, with ten different toxin variants, including ‘Hop toxins’ who stick to your face, like in the movie aliens and must be peeled off with a swipe. Some toxins actually consume you and then spit you back out. The ‘Extras’ menu contains some “Toxiary’ notes about the specific behavior of each sludge-monster. New enemies appear every few levels, which keeps the story-mode levels fresh. The levels environments also vary, sometimes including wind or altered-gravity, which affects your movements.
Survival mode has four levels, to test how long you can contain the toxins. It’s better to play story mode first, as survival mode throws various new toxins at you without any explanation of their behavior. This mode has a couple of flaws, as it keeps interrupting game-play by repeating the same dialog messages. And when you use the pause menu to change survival level, it incorrectly opens the level selection screen for story mode. The third game-mode is “Time Attack" which gives you a set duration (eg: 2 minutes) to maximize your score. Unfortunately, the survival and time attack modes feel like rushed, last minute additions, taken from story mode.
Crystal and Game Center integration are included (a healthy 50 achievements), with leader-boards provided for each game-play mode and level, although strangely, levels 22+ don’t seem to have ranking tables listed in Game Center.
Sticky creates a mixed impression. On one hand, the levels, creatures and power-ups’s are varied and creative, the artwork is hand-drawn and the controls are interesting and work really well. But survival and time attack modes seem rushed, simply for the sake of adding extra modes. Some of the smaller levels are much harder than others. And the character Sticky, despite his cute name, isn’t particularly cute or lovable, so I’m unsure why Dr. Bunsen adopted the little scientific side-effect.