Do you have your pilot's license!? Oh, you're a sentient propellor? Carry on.
Zynga made its name with some twists. In the case of its biggest hits, this often meant just twisting the name of an existing game or tweaking a gameplay element to make a new product out of something that came before. The ailing powerhouse in social and mobile gaming platforms has since expanded to a stable of published content, much of which offers more outside-the-box play. Isn't that a twist.
Before I get twisted around, though, let's say hello to Twist Pilot: a puzzler which stars a little spinning helicopter blade named Phil. Phil finds himself in a maze and needs help arriving at the end without hitting the walls. He also has a dizzying dilemma in that he's constantly spinning. His rotations add to the challenge of an otherwise very straightforward concept.
As the person in charge of delivering Phil to his destination, you will not only have to navigate the game but also rotate Phil at the exact right moments to keep him from hitting the bothersome barriers. Collisions with obstacles will cause damage, draining Phil's health meter as he falls and adding a penalty to the total time. To counteract these intrusions are power-ups that will help make the maze more manageable.
Honestly, most levels aren't extremely challenging from the perspective of being navigator. You shouldn't have too much of a problem getting Phil through each level provided you take the necessary time to plan out his rotations and account for any issues that arise along the way. Here, however, is where the conflict begins. Like many games with this style of play, each level comes with a star rating at the end. To achieve three stars, players will have to beat the clock and collect coins scattered about the level.
This makes that whole "be patient and precise" idea less appealing, because it will hurt the final score when all is said and done. It forces players to make split-second decisions in the midst of falling, often making for some tense turns and anxious steering. When executed correctly, there's a real feeling of reward; a sense that it was not just luck but a healthy dose of skill that notched you that third star.
Twist Pilot is not light on levels. The game comes with 72 mazes that will change in difficulty as you progress.Coupled with the persistent sense of tension, these stages prove to be a fertile ground for hard-fought victories and bouts full of retries. And while certain levels lack visual inspiration and begin to feel as if the team Crash Labs was reaching, the core gameplay feels solid enough that snagging those stars is sure to be higher not he priority list than picking apart the issues.
Graphically, Twist Pilot adopts a cute look that works well for the game. Phil is a bright red figure with a smile that disappears when he hits a wall. The levels are equally injected with vibrant colors and an almost claymation craftsmanship. So while Twist Pilot doesn't necessarily break new ground, it does spin its way into both your mind and your heart rather quickly.
- Constant twisting combines with time and coin challenge to make the game both action-packed and strategic. Wonderful doting aesthetic feels crafted with love. Responsive controls reduce complication and drastically improve a potentially clumsy experience.
- A handful of levels feel uninspired and repetitious. Audio design approaches grating over long periods of play.