With big companies putting a lot of money behind developing games, it’s not always easy for small Android developers to make waves with their game and apps. Even a solid game with great graphics and awesome features can get buried in the market, just waiting for its turn in the limelight. Walkabout is exactly the sort of game one randomly stumbles upon while browsing aimlessly through the Market.
Addictive, fun, well-designed – Walkabout has all the necessary ingredients to become an instant hit with users worldwide. Take a peek at an uncovered Android gem in today’s exclusive review.
Features & Use
Admittedly, Walkabout is a fairly ambiguous title that tricks people into thinking that the game is boring. Although there is quite a bit of “walking around” in the game, Walkabout is first and foremost an addictive puzzle game. Your character is a small black-haired figurine living in the middle of a slightly Pokemon-esque world. The aim of the game is to successfully collect all the stars on the field – and that means every single one of them! It would all be a breeze if it weren’t for the fact that each field your little guy steps on disappears as you move away from it. Every step you take prevents you from retracing your steps so you’ll have to plan your path ahead of time.
Despite how deceivingly simple the game looks, I found myself thinking 5-6 moves ahead before attempting to eat a star. The thing is that you have to collect all of the stars in a specific order or you’re bound to get stuck. In the first couple of levels, there may be several different ways for solving the same level, but once you move up into the higher level there will usually be just one right solution.
All of the levels are broken up into differently themed worlds, so there’s enough variety to keep you occupied.
Besides collecting all of the stars, there are also several keys hidden across the levels that give you access to secret bonus levels.
The scoring system was one aspect of the game which I simply couldn’t figure out. Apparently, you receive just one star for each level where you’ve successfully collected all the stars. Sound confusing? Well, it is! As far as I could understand, you can earn additional completion stars for finishing a level in record time. Earning a third star for every level is, based on my own experience, impossible. Obviously, this isn’t a huge issue, but the game desperately needs a little blurb or info bubble with information regarding the scoring system.
Bottom Line: This game came as a total surprise to me. I haven’t been sucked into a game as addictive as Walkabout in a very long time. The game strikes a perfect balance between simplicity and entertainment, giving it a lot of potential for future stardom. With each level, the puzzles get gradually more different and despite the fact that each level has basically the same layout, the game never gets redundant. There’s always a new twist waiting around the corner – whether it’s more loveable characters, more complex constructions or hidden trapdoors. All I can say is: two thumbs up!
Screen & Controls
The game’s childish and fruity outer appearance may scare people away, giving them the wrong impression. No, Walkabout is not a children’s game for preschoolers. Most 1st graders wouldn’t be able to make it beyond the first couple of levels (tested personally on my younger sibling). It may be extremely cute and colorful, but Walkabout is a seriously addictive game for all age categories. The best way to describe the game’s thematic design is a mix between Zelda and Pokemon. The menus, on the other hand, have something in common with Angry Birds.
Nevertheless, none of these resemblances can diminish the accomplishment of this talented developer. Everything is beautiful and extremely pleasant to the eye from start to finish. Even the background music is agreeable and done in the best of traditions of old-school gaming.
As far as the controls are concerned, you control the small bobble-head figurines by simply dragging them across the screen with your finger. This works pretty well and the screen is generally very responsive. Personally, I wouldn’t mind have some more control options i.e. on screen buttons, trackball, tilt sensor etc. For most people though, the regular Walkabout controls are more than enough.
And while we’re on the subject, Walkabout is so simple and straight-forward that it doesn’t even have any settings. That’s right – absolutely no settings! You can quit, restart, pause or zoom in onto the screen while playing. Very practical and efficient.
Speed & Stability
I have absolutely no qualms about the game speed and performance. Walkabout is very close to perfection on this front!
Walkabout is available for ~$1.97 from the AndroidPIT App Center. I personally did mind paying that price for a great ad-free game, but 99 cents would be a much fairer price.