Vertigo - for iOS (Free) by taktmaschinen and Simmikolon is a modern take on the classic “snake” game that we’ve grown to love over the years. If you enjoy fast-paced arcade games like HEX:99, Treasure Fetch – Adventure Time, and dEXTRIS, then you’ll love what Vertigo has to offer.
Ah, the classic snake game. I remember playing that for hours when I was bored and had a basic cell phone back in high school. Back then, it was how almost everyone passed the time — playing simple cell phone games like Snake. Move a line of pixels around a grid, collecting the single pixel “food” bits, and then growing in size with the goal of not running into yourself or the walls. It was basic, but it was fun for the time. But now we have supercomputers in our pockets, so of course the classic game is too primitive for today. That is, until you get your hands on Vertigo.
The visuals in Vertigo are like a coat of fresh, contemporary paint on the original. The game grid consists of large pixels that represent the snake, food sources (flashes), obstacles, and more. To top it all off, Vertigo has gorgeous background colors that are vibrant and contrast nicely with the pixel elements. The vignette effect around the edges is a nice touch as well. Animations in the game are smooth and fluid, which is good as the game moves quickly. The soundtrack is a nice mix of electronic and piano, which is different but fun to listen to. The audible feedback as you gather food or hit obstacles is helpful.
Like other arcade games out there, Vertigo is level-based, with 40 stages spread out across five different chapters. With the initial free download, you only have access to the first five levels of the first chapter. To get the other four chapters for all stages (the full game), you need to opt for the $0.99 in-app purchase. Players will need to clear a level in order to move on to the next one, so it’s fairly linear.
Controls in Vertigo are intuitive and responsive. The snake moves forward automatically — your job is to steer it to the left or right by tapping on either side of the screen to make it turn. However, as you turn, the screen rotates with you, which can lead to some spinning when you’re going fast, hence the name “Vertigo.”
The goal in each stage is collect all of the food pixels in the order that they light up in with your snake in the least amount of time. The food replenishes your snake’s “energy” gauge, so you have to keep gobbling up the grub in order to stay alive. If the gauge is depleted, or you run into obstacles (including yourself) too many times, then the game ends. But be warned — the more food you eat, the longer and faster your snake moves (as it should), so the game gets challenging pretty rapidly. In later levels, you will encounter enemies that chase after you, bombs, teleporters, and many other objects and obstacles. It certainly adds some new life to a classic.
So far, the game has been super difficult for me, as it is just way too fast, and from early iTunes reviews, it seems that I am not the only one noticing this. The developer is aware of the insane difficulty of the game and is already working on an update that lowers the difficulty to something much more reasonable. I’m looking forward to it.
If you do manage to survive for an entire level and collect all the food, your score is based on how fast you got all of the food, and you can see the time it took you and compare to previous attempts. Up to three stars can be earned as well, depending on how well you perform. There’s Game Center integration for leaderboards too, so you can see how you stack up against your friends.
Aside from the crazy hard difficulty at the moment, I’m enjoying Vertigo. The graphics are beautiful, and the cycling colors in the background are just hypnotic. The music is upbeat and quirky, and controls are responsive. It’s a challenging game that breathes some much needed fresh air to a classic.
I recommend checking out Vertigo if you are a fan of arcade games. Let’s just hope that update comes out sooner rather than later.
Vertigo can be found on the App Store as a universal download for free for the first five levels, with the rest unlocked through an in-app purchase.