It’s an understatement to say that the app store is massive. Even colossal doesn’t begin to cover it. In September 2012 it boasted 700,000 apps, 90% of which are downloaded every month. The app store has been Apple’s main weapon in fighting off other platforms and keeping it’s iDevices the most sought after tech products. With so many games out there, unique concepts are hard to come by – even birds being thrown at pigs has been done to death. Tin Man Can, a game which surely must have muddled up the words in its title, manages to shine a light of innovation through the bloated app store by offering a new twist on the runner genre with a unique protagonist – a unicycle-riding, helicopter-robot.
As is the norm with runner games, the game’s premise is simple; get from left to right, tapping to move. Instead of a singular, endless level Tin Man Can is split into 60 missions across four worlds as our robotic protagonist tries to escape from being dragged into different dimensions by wormholes (as it is with most runner games: let’s not worry about the story). Players are scored on how quickly the level is completed as well as there being three batteries to collect in each, so there is plenty of replayability for the perfectionists.
The game offers a unique twist on the runner genre by limiting how much Tic can fly; using his helicopter function will drain fuel. This can either be regenerated by travelling along the ground or, when navigating across open spaces, be replenished by collecting hovatrons which also double as the game’s coin system for the shop and skipping levels. It’s a system that is deviously simple in the opening few missions that are mainly land-based; towards the latter stages hovatrons must be collected to navigate the levels, creating challenging – but never frustrating – gameplay.
New gameplay elements are often introduced to keep levels fresh, from power-ups like invisibility, vehicles that smash through walls and level hazards such as magnets and bombs. Whereas many runner games could be described as reaction orientated, the more complex of Tim Man Can’s levels become almost puzzle-like in nature, as trial and error sees the best route to the end worked out; getting through some of the trickier sections of the game is highly rewarding.
As previously mentioned the hovatrons picked up on runs can be spent in the game’s store or used to skip levels. Both are fairly expensive; you’ll gain around 50-100 hovatrons each level, with it costing 300 to skip and most store items costing over 1000. Saving them for the forming is highly recommended, as the store offers upgrades to Tic that are purely aesthetic, whereas there will be a fair few levels that may prove frustrating. Although cruel on the ‘casual gamer’, it’s a nice change not being able to automatically skip any level, encouraging players to persevere through until it’s completed. Cheats can also be purchased in the store but they are highly expensive and are only the powerups that can be picked up across the game leaving little incentive to go for them, especially as medals based on your time are not rewarded when cheats are activated.
Tim Man Can is great on the eye, with each dimension offering different design and style. The opening luscious meadows feel soothing, very similar to the ‘Tiny Wings’ game, whereas the final caverns are more futuristic and neon. Each dimension also provides unqiue gameplay challenges, such as tress that must be navigated though in the Redwood Forest and walls that must be smashed through in the Crystal Caverns. Beautiful 2D provides the backdrop to a 3D rendered Tic, complemented by different musical themes that fit each level nicely and vary enough to avoid getting repetitive. Sound effects work well, just don’t let Tic hit a mine; the noise he makes is enough to crush the soul of even the manliest of men.
As well as the single player story mode, each level can be played competitively online in real time against other players. Unfortunately at the time of writing no game were available, though this is certainly something that will change when the game is released.
It’s hard to fault Tin Man Can. Although nothing ground breaking, RedCandy’s game not only offers a freshness to the runner genre but is also a charming and fun way to fill short and sharp gaming sessions on the go. The steep difficulty curve may put some off but for those willing to stick with the tougher levels it provides a very rewarding gaming experience.
– Sharp Difficulty Curve
+Each level has a unique feel
+Musical themes are nice
+ Doesn’t get repetitive