Chuck Gnome; or how much will travelocity sue for? (iPhone Game)

Lately I have been testing out a new game that just hit the AppStore called, Chuck Gnome. It is a visual treat for sure, and the game play couldn’t be easier/crack candy coated, but it does leave me asking one question; Does Travelocity know about this? I know it’s unfair to lump all Gnomes into a group, I mean Travelocity wasn’t the first place to feature a Gnome wearing a blue shirt and a red hat. Here is where I show my age some, does anybody in the blog-o-sphere here remember the TV show “David The Gnome”? Maybe I’m wrong about the name, but I’m sure it was something rather biblical just the same. Anyway, I am digressing once again, and ooo shiny thing… Erm, uh, let’s get back to the short list shall we? I’m feeling really quite basic today, so let’s go with the less than holy trinity shall we? Let’s talk of the game play, the look and feel of the game, and finish off with how many double cheeseburgers shall it cost me / is it worth the asking price.

First up on the chopping block today is the game play that you’ll be exposed to if you happen to download Chuck Gnome. Game play is dead simple, just the way I like it really, Once you load up the game, and feed in the optional open feint log in info, You can select a couple of different levels to start off with. I recommend starting with first flight as that was intended to be the in game tutorial. So, now that you’ve selected a level through the deft use of your index finger, at least I hope that was your finger I saw, now we are in the game environment. The stage will change in look both throughout the stage that you are in as time ticks away, and through the different stages themselves, but the basic game elements remain through and through. You have one of the seemingly endless army of Chuck Gnome Clones standing before a rather large and ominous looking rubber band. His back is turned to you, cheeky little guy – maybe, but he’s ready for action. He’s got his goggles on, and he’s ready for you to pull back and fling him sling shot style into wild (sometimes) blue yonder. If you pull back, and wait to release, you’ll get a launch arc guide of sorts to show you the flight path of your little Gnome. There doesn’t seem to be a Gnome counter to say how many shots you have left, so feel free to experiment with the Gnome. Don’t worry, we’ll just ignore the gossip. You have some choices of targets to shoot for as you go through the different stages. There is no clear defined goals except for the bottom line, “Shoot down all the targets you can find in a timely manner”. If you happen to succeed and get far enough along you’ll be able to find a nice shiny golden key. This key will unlock new stages to play. This may take a while to reach, but don’t feel too bad if you run out of time before you get there. That’s what the white and red mushrooms are for. Just stay away from the black ones, they hurt ya. As I’m sure you’ll figure out just by guessing, the further back you pull, the farther Chuck will fly. The reverse axis for left and right might take about 2.5 seconds for some who’ve not played with balloon slingshots before as a kid. To launch Chuck towards the right of the screen, pull towards you and left, then let go. Easy as can be. Just try not to hit any of the cut out backdrops, that hurts Chuck in the face, and let’s face it as a Gnome, he’s got one strike against him with the ladies.
So, let’s talk about how the game looks. The game looks like it was drawn up by a children’s book illustrator. That is a nice and refreshing approach to this day and age. To make something that looks very innocent and pure. I have to say that I like it. Now, as for awesome 3-D polygons and other such things that was probably rendered in Adobe After Effects, they have their place, but it’s not here. The graphics match the game play, simple, and perhaps even a little cheesy, but I can get behind it just the same. The best part about the graphics here is that they are very solid, very well thought out, and all together very appropriate for kids of all ages. So this ends up being a perfect game for everyone in the house to try and beat dad at. The colors are also very good, sorta basic, but in a good way. The whole thing makes me think of some of the more recent Legend of Zelda games; kinda like Windraker or it’s sequel. All together very successful usage of color and style.

Now for the last of the trinity, and probably the most important as you are no doubt carefully budgeting your money for distractions to prevent from studying this school term that is about to befall you; the price and value of the game. Here in the US you’ll be parting with $1.99 for this cute little gem, and in my opinion it’s well worth the two double cheeseburgers that won’t be going to your waistline. The game is short, so hopefully they will do like Finger Physics, another AppStore favorite, and add some new levels monthly or at the very least add something level wise every so often to keep interest. The game play is simple and mindless enough that you’d probably never notice the shortness of the game, cause you’ll probably just replay it again and again like Doodle Jump, just to kill time, or to make you feel superior to others.

In closing, my verdict. Is this game worth the money? Does it beat the challenges set before it? And does it meet the approval of my scrutiny? The answer to all of these questions, this time, is – Yes. I approve of this App, and find it very charming. I would recommend it to friends, and so should you. I have some minor complaints, but only from the stand point of I am old enough to remember the old carnival game that this App was intended to mimic. Part of what was fun in the old arcade / carnival styled game that this mimics so very well, is that you were shooting duckies or rabbits for either prizes, or for bragging rights. As such, the only prizes, so far, is more levels. A good start, but perhaps they could open up a contest every now and again to win one of their other games from the AppStore or something like that. Also, it would be a good suggestion to make it so you could have more than one profile, or have a V.S. mode so you could duke it out in a pass and play fashion with a friend who wasn’t cool enough to get a free iPod touch from his bank, or didn’t have the proper skill set to beg and barter with his parents to get one. Over all, even with my design suggestions, I’d rate this App an 8 out of 10. The game is really solid, and there is nothing for this App to worry about really, but some more levels later on, or some other elements to keep us interested would boost the final score just the same.

Game rated on a ten point scale.

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