Charlie In Trouble - The Forbidden Portal ($0.99) by Rapid Turtle Games is a new side-scrolling, 2D puzzle game where you help Charlie avoid obstacles, collect items and solve challenges to work your way through stages and levels. It includes 10 levels comprised of 26 stages and has OpenFeint and Game Center integration.
Young Charlie has defied the King the way any rebellious youth would, he traveled through a magical portal and got stuck on the other side. Now, to return home, Charlie has to overcome enemies and other obstacles found in this strange realm. Since he has no magical powers of his own, he has to use his wits and various objects found along the way along to achieve his goals.
Charlie in Trouble is a valiant effort and a decent idea, but in practice the result is frustratingly slow and quite unentertaining. For being in trouble, Charlie moves shockingly snail-like and it takes a while just to get him from one end of the screen to the other. The only thing that makes dodging bullets, nails and other projectiles possible is that they move just as slowly.
Going through the stages isn’t always as simple as going from one end to the other. Sometimes you find your way impeded by a door of some sort and realize that you have to backtrack and find a switch to open it. The challenges are adequate and frequent enough to keep you thinking, but there isn’t much creativity necessary to solve them.
The graphics look like an iPad game ported to the iPhone, thus making everything look very small. Even when you break out the bifocals and figure out what is what, the art looks more like an 8-bit remake than a new touch screen platformer.
The redeeming quality of CiT is that there is much depth and breadth to behold. There are enough levels, obstacles, enemies, objects and puzzles to keep you entertained for quite some time, almost justifying the current price of $1.99 USD. Rapid Turtle Games claims there are "7 hours of adventure fun" which is on the higher end for similar titles, but replay value is sorely lacking.
While Charlie in Trouble offers plenty of puzzle content, the slow gameplay and small graphics make this a difficult sell for 2 bucks. Unless you’re a 2D puzzle buff, stay out of trouble by taking a pass on this one for now.