Features & Use
Samsung Nexus S
Android Version: 2.3.4
Runs as of: Android 1.6
Permissions: Network communication, hardware controls, storage, phone calls, your accounts
I have to admit that my first impression of ShakyTower was not exactly positive: I assumed it was yet another one of those ‘Hey, let’s pile stuff together’ game concept. Mercifully, I was wrong (and continued playing, despite my initial reaction). Then again, had I not stuck with the game, loyal reviewer that I am, I wouldn’t have suffered minure seizures induced by stress. Why, you ask? Well, ShakyTower can be quite trying, to say the least -- I’ll go into more detail in a bit. First, let’s take a a closer look at ShakyTower.
In all honesty, I have to admit that ShakyTower is a kind of ‘pile-it-up’ type game... that is, one of the many ShakyTower game modes is of the pile-up variety. You start off with a square and have to pile more squares on top of it. As you sway your phone as you are piling up the square blocks, the tower begins to sway as well. It’s a race against time, all the while trying to keep the tower balanced enough so that it doesn’t topple over by employing strategic building techniques, counter-swaying the tower out of gravity’s pull and reaching the checkpoints, avoiding certain areas, etc.
Sounds exciting? Well, it is! And there’s more to come (why do I sometimes feel like I’m channeling Mikey Levey?)
ShakyTower is a-whole-bunch-of-games-in-1, although squares are featured in every game. Check out the video to see just how diversified this game really is. There are lots of different types of squares/blocks (including ice, rubber, etc.), different environments (from the jungle to the Antarctica) and of course lots and lots of game modes. For example, in some modes you have to navigate a little wagon through dangerous territories, in others you have to dispose of blocks by pushing them into said danger zones. Slide across plates of ice or soar along strong air currents on the hunt for checkpoints.
I found the radically different degrees of difficulty to be somewhat annoying -- in fact, some levels are so challenging that they are downright frustrating. Buying upgrades is an option; some upgrades include items that will, e.g., buy you more time, neutralise the danger zones or slow everything down.
The game is lots of fun and I predict that you won’t tire of it for a while, thanks to all the different game modes. It’s a shame about the levels of difficulty, though.
Screen & Controls
ShakyTower may not be the cutest thing you’ve seen, but it’s perfectly nice. Controls are relatively simple, after all, that really needs to be done is sway the device to and fro. The automatic calibrator is especially useful: it sets the sway sensor at the beginning of each level.
Speed & Stability
ShakyTower performs very well on the Nexus S.