Miseria ($0.99) by RatJar Games is a tricky puzzle game that will really test your reflexes and puzzle solving. If you love puzzles with that Burtonesque theme, then you will absolutely love what Miseria: Worlds Apart has to offer.
First off, this game seems very similar to Freeze, which I reviewed at the end of last year. I thought this too, at first, but the games do have their own differences that make both of them stand out. Whereas Freeze was merely puzzles without much of a story and easy controls, Miseria has a bit of a background story between the characters, as well as a harder set of controls to master.
By a story, I mean a pretty basic one, but a story nonetheless. You have Lurk, a simple little urchin who ends up separated from his love and imprisoned by the evil spider ogre, Grunzel. Your job is to help Lurk navigate his way back to love and escape the evil clutches of Grunzel without getting hurt too much along the way.
As I mentioned, the game has a very Burtonesque look and feel to it. It seems that the monochromatic games are a new trend as of late, but I actually do like the art style. It’s different, and quite immersive actually, especially if you are into the style. The music in the game is also very soothing but nerve-wracking at the same time, as you need to be extremely fast with steering Lurk. The animations are smooth, fluid, and very responsive with realistic physics.
There are four chapters to go through, with 20 levels in each. This leaves plenty of content for players to go through, and the game is already challenging enough, so there is enough to last you for quite some time. The nice thing with this game is the fact that the first level of each chapter is unlocked, so you can actually play the chapters out of order if you desire. However, to unlock the next level, you will need to clear the previous one. The puzzles are cleared by getting Lurk safely to the portal, and your score is determined by how fast you accomplish this in.
The controls in the game are a bit difficult to work with, and definitely take some time to get used to. However, once you do, then it’s quite rewarding. Basically, instead of spinning the maze around like you do in Freeze, you move it around by tapping on the left or right side of the screen.
As you’d imagine, this makes it harder to get the balance right, and will require you to be quick on your toes. You need to be fast and time your taps properly, as there are dangerous obstacles between Lurk and the portal, like bloodsuckers, poisonous globs, spinning saw blades, and Grunzel himself, who will eat you alive if you fall out of the labyrinth. To make things even more difficult (who doesn’t like a good challenge?), each puzzle is timed, and you only have that amount of time to complete it. Your score is determined by how fast it’s done in, as well as how much damage Lurk took (if he doesn’t die, that is). You can also earn up to three stars per level.
So far, even though the controls are not great for beginners, I’m enjoying the game so far. It’s beautiful with a fantastic soundtrack, and the puzzles are quite challenging. I also really love the fact that you are not restricted to the first level pack, as you are in most other games. The only thing I wish that the game added was Game Center integration, since it is score-based. Hopefully it is added in the future.
If you’re a fan of dark and beautiful puzzle games, then you will absolutely need to have Miseria in your iPhone game collection. Get it in the App Store for your iPhone for only $0.99. A separate HD version for the iPad is also available for $1.99.