Volcano Escape Review

The natives need a sacrifice for the volcano and Colonel Charlie Bravo is it! Armed with a pistol and some amazing jump skills, you must navigate Charlie through perilous platforming action while dodging and shooting enemies who try to slow his ascent all while trying to stay a few steps ahead of the rising lava! It’s a light hearted back story that creates the perfect setup for a solid arcade game concept.

The game utilizes two analog sticks to control both the characters movement while the right analog stick aims the pistol. The control scheme works in much the same way as ‘Geometry Wars’ where the control of the ship’s movement is independent of the aiming of the gun. Rounding out the controls is a jump button located just above the right stick.

Scattered throughout the platform heavy level are power-ups in the form of Jet Packs, Shields, Smart Bombs, High Jump and Health that aid Charley with his escape. Weapon upgrades include Shotguns, Grenade Launchers, and Spread Fire. Since jumping is key to Charlie’s survival, the ability to double jump in mid air allows Charlie to reach heights that even Mario would have struggled with. Additionally Charlie can kick off walls to aid in navigation the trickiest of spaces. An interesting aspect of the game is that when an enemy is dispatched with the gun, they turn into stone blocks that can be used as make-shift platforms to stand on. At points this is the only way to proceed; at other times a petrified enemy might become an obstacle that could cause an early “Game Over”.

One of the big attractions for this style of game is having global leader boards in addition to friends scores through Apple’s Game Center. It’s a feature that gamers have become accustomed to on other gaming platforms and it’s good to see that Bravo Games took the time to include it here.

Another component of the game that really stood out to me was the randomization of the game world. While there are always some similarities in various heights through the volcano, each section seemed to be randomly designed as well as the placement and frequency of the power-ups. It really ads a lot of re-playability to the experience.

As much as I enjoy the game, there are few nagging issues with the control scheme that left me a bit frustrated at times. To begin with, the bottom corners of the screen become obstructed do to having both thumbs on the screen. It seems to me both the analog sticks could be moved down and out toward the edges of the screen a bit more and this might alleviate the problem. They also might be able to add an option that would shrink the game view down leaving a boarder around the screen. Also a game like this really relies on manual dexterity and virtual analog sticks are no replacement for the real thing. It is however an input method that is widely used and accepted but that does little to quell my frustration.

Graphically this game is all about polish. The game world is full of life and character. Details abound through the volcanic world from fossilized dinosaur bones to the glowing light that precedes the rising lava. There is so much to look at but so little time to do so as you’ll probably be frantically looking for the next place to jump. The characters are fun and the sound effects and music complete the setting perfectly.

With 5 characters to unlock and play, Achievements, Facebook integration, and Game Center score tracking, there is a lot of fun here. Despite my complaints with the controls, I still had trouble putting it down.

Rated 9+ for the following:

  • Infrequent/Mild Cartoon or Fantasy Violence

Purchase ‘Volcano Escape’ here: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/volcano-escape/id412706315?mt=8

***** = “Liked it”

About Michael "Tebroc" Corbett

According to Mike's memory banks, his first experience with video games happened in 1981 on his brother Jim's Atari VCS - CX2600. (Mike is unsure of whether or not it was a Sunnyvale Edition.) Asteroids and Defender were his favorite games. Fast-forward 20 some years and he has gone on to save the princess but not any money. He never learned to read but now writes articles using speech-to-text technology. Awesome.