David. ($0.99) by Andrew Armstrong is a minimalistic physics-based platformer game that draws inspiration from Shadow of the Colossus and Angry Birds. It may sound like a bit weird mix at first, but it proves itself to be quite worthy of anyone’s iOS game collection.
It seems that minimalistic games are all the rage these days, but I don’t mind. There’s just something soothing about such simple games, regardless of the genre that they fall under. When I first heard about David, I knew that it was something I had to have, because it looked insanely fun. It is also available on PC and Mac from the developer’s website, but I waited for the iOS version because it looks to be perfect with touch controls. And now that it made a surprise entrance into the App Store last night, I grabbed it and gave it a spin. So far, I’m definitely impressed — this is a quality game.
For a look at how the gameplay works, check out the video below. If you’re having problems viewing it, check it out here.
The visuals are true to the simplistic nature of the game. You have David, who is just a small square, who must face off against giant enemies, who are culminations of many geometric shapes that move as one. The stages that you’ll do battle in are also pretty basic, but still alluring. However, everything combines together into one beautiful, abstract work of art.
The physics engine in the game is also fairly realistic, and the animations of both David and his nemesis are incredibly fluid. When you step back a bit and observe David, even though everything is a bunch of shapes, it’s the animation and physics that bring these inanimate objects to life right before your eyes — it’s beautiful.
The music and sounds in David are also quite delightful. The soundtrack is fairly ambient, so it’s very soothing, though the gameplay itself may not be. The sounds are nice too, giving you a sense of achievement as you take down one of the giant bosses.
There are a total of seven different enemies for you to take down, and they are based off of seven different sins. Each boss will have their own unique personality and battle technique, with the pattern being something you can figure out after a while against them.
While it may not seem like a lot, these battles are fairly difficult, and you will probably end up dying quite a bit before getting the hang of it. Each battle will also have two difficulty levels: Okay (Normal) and Very (Hard). Once you end up taking them all down on Okay, give Very a try. You’ll also unlock some extras if you can beat all of battles on Very difficulty.
The controls are pretty easy, though it takes some time to get used to it and actually master. You move David left and right with the directional arrows in the bottom left, and you make him jump with the button on the right. You can do short little jumps or tap it repeatedly to jump higher, or crawl along the walls with a little help of the directional buttons. To attack, simply tap on David and drag your finger to your target. This slows down your surroundings for a bit, making it easier to lock on to what you want to hit. Releasing your finger will fling David in that direction, and if it hits a foe, then you’ll start seeing them breaking apart — it will take multiple hits to take them down.
Since the gameplay of the game is so unique, it did take me some time to get used to the controls. Fortunately, there is an introductory tutorial that you can replay at any time if you need to practice, though it’s probably better to practice in an actual battle.
As you fight, you will need to be quick, but tactical as well. If the giant pins you down, or touches you, your health will slowly deplete (indicated at the top left). If you run out of life, you can either go back to the level selection screen (you can fight them in any order you want), or try this battle again.
I’ve only downloaded the game since it came out in the App Store last night, but I’m addicted. The minimalistic, abstract art style, whimsical soundtrack, and challenging physics-based gameplay keep me coming back for more, even though I’m constantly dying.
It’s a challenging little game, and if you’re a fan of platformer games that have you facing off against foes much larger than yourself, just like Shadow of the Colossus, then you should check this game out for yourself. It’s well worth the dollar.
Get David. on the App Store as a universal download for $0.99. Please note that currently the first gen iPad mini is not supported — the developer is working on a fix for this, and it will arrive in a future update.