The concept behind Tasty Planet, a new causal game from Dingo Games, will be immediately familiar to fans of Namco’s PlayStation 2 hit, Katamari Damacy or PopCap’s popular Feeding Frenzy games: you must grow bigger and bigger by absorbing objects smaller than you, until you reach a predetermined size.
But despite the lack of originality and a few other annoying niggles, Tasty Planet is quirky, fun and strangely addictive.
In this Windows or Mac game, a scientist sets out to invent a new kind of bathroom cleaner when he inadvertently creates microscopic “grey goo” with an insatiable appetite. It enters the body of the scientist’s faithful assistant, and here you must control the goo’s actions as he gobbles up small things like red blood cells. If the goo grows enough before the timer runs out, the story continues — as told via comic strips — and the goo then makes its way to the Great Outdoors and begins eating bigger items such as dirt, aphids and ladybugs, and then bigger items, such as pets, trees and cars. Eventually, it grows so big it leaves earth to eat its way through the galaxy. Now this is one hungry dude.
The gamer moves the goo around by simply pushing the mouse in a given direction; the target size is listed in the top left-hand corner. If the goo touches something too big for its size, he won’t be able to eat it or it may also cause it to explode and you’ll need to start the level all over again (therefore you need to avoid these obstacles).
Unlike the Katamari games, Tasty Planet has somewhat crude 2-D graphics as the action is seen from a top-down perspective. One graphical glitch was also noticed on one of the two PCs used to test the game: a black square surrounded the goo throughout the entire game.
Another issue lies in the music, as some of these songs have been in other casual games, such as one quirky tune heard in Toy Box Games’ Teddy Factory.
Even with these shortcomings, however, Tasty Planet can be quite addictive as you race against the clock to eat and grow until the level is complete; the game features 60 unique levels and three different game modes (normal, time attack and endurance).
While Tasty Planet isn’t a unique idea, Dingo Games’ arcade puzzler is fun, fast and hard to stop – though more bug-testing, better graphics and a different soundtrack would bump up our score significantly.