Zip Zap is a game that’s all about motion. It’s about moving contraptions from A to B, using just your finger to pivot the mechanical device that you’re trying to shuffle to the end of the teeny tiny levels. There are some clever ideas here, and the mixture of puzzling and platforming gels together really well. This is a game that pokes at your grey matter as well as testing your reflexes. It’s a combination that manages to feel fresh and exciting at the same time.
Some levels you’ll roll through pretty easily, others you’ll have to figure your way through, working out where you need to move to, what you need to do to get there and how you can stop when you get there.
You control everything with a single finger. Tap the screen and the device you’re moving contracts in some way. To begin with, you’re dealing with L shaped pairs of girders, or bars that pivot in the middle. You need to walk them down slopes, stopping them at circles for a set amount of time to complete the challenge.
The deeper you get though, the more complex things get. Rather than using the movable parts of the level to fill the circle you might have to flick a ball into the right place, or get a girder swinging so that it hits another girder and pushes it into place. You need to figure out how to stop shapes from falling off the edge of the level, work out how to get things that are too big through holes they probably shouldn’t fit through. And it’s a surprising amount of fun, all told.
There are a few problems here and there though, that keep the game from really reaching the heights that it could. For example, the levels where you need to swing a girder tend to be a little less entertaining than the rest, and they take a little too long to complete as well.
When the game gets things right, it gets them dead right, which makes its mistakes a little more palatable. And the size of the levels means that you’re never stuck on any one section for too long. For the most part this is a brilliantly designed piece of mobile entertainment. The controls are simple and elegant and let you do a multitude of different things with a single finger. There’s a smart restart move as well that involves sliding across the screen to instantly restart the level that you’re on.
When you add everything up, you’ll find that you’re having a good time with Zip Zap. It might not be as immediate as some of the more throwaway arcade games on the App Store, but it also has an awful lot more depth. This is the sort of game you work through in bursts. It never really holds your hand, because its ideas are simple enough that it doesn’t have to. You figure everything out at your own pace, and once you’ve got to grips with things the game will roll in a new idea for you to work with.
There are niggles, there are problems, and there are times when you’ll need to put the game down for a while. But the likelihood is that you’ll come back to it all the same. And that’s the sign of a game that’s going to stick around on your home screen for a good long while.