CreaVures is perhaps one of the more magical games Iíve played on my iPad this year; not so much due to any breakthrough gameplay in the side-scrolling platform genre but rather on stunning visuals alone. CreaVures tells the story of a forest that has gone dark and itís up to you and an eclectic group of creaturesÖI mean CreaVures, to explore this fantastic world, solve puzzles, and restore light and life to this magical realm.
Meet Bitey, Pokey, Rolly, Zappy, and Glidey, the five characters you will be playing with in this game; each with a unique ability suited for solving a specific puzzles or battling random enemies or formidable bosses found at the end of each chapter. Itís up to you to figure out which creatures work best, alone and in pairs, for your best shot and getting through each level and the game. But donít worry about being overloaded with choices just yet. CreaVures does a good job of trickling the characters to you about one per chapter, giving you a good chance to master one character before having to learn the abilities of the next, and you can always be sure that just about the time you meet a new character, thatís the time youíre going to need him.
As for combining your CreaVures, there are numerous checkpoints throughout each level that allow you to swap in whatever support character you think will work best. If you choose poorly, itís not a huge deal to simply restart the checkpoint and try a different pairing. Even better, any progress you made prior to restarting from the previous checkpoint remains, so you can easily get back to the trouble-spot.
The game controls with the standard virtual D-pad which works out well enough with all the usual caveats. Controls can be a little imprecise, especially the jumping where it is hard to control distance, but CreaVures auto-grab so it keeps things from getting too bad. If youíve played any platformer on your iPad then you know exactly what to expect.
What you wonít be expecting are some mind-blowing visuals that look like the game was created using phosphorescent paint and youíre playing in a room with a black light. The bioluminescent glow is unlike anything Iíve seen in any video game on any system and can only be compared to the nighttime Pandora scenes in Avatar. The creatures are charmingly unique, slightly twisted, and delightfully animated, and the whole package is complemented with an atmospheric score that blurs the lines of music and nature while giving off a very alien vibe.
CreaVures is a universal app, although Iím not sure Iíd want to try and play the game on the smaller screen, let alone diminish the visual impact of CreaVures by playing on my iPhone. Youíll come for the graphics, but youíll stay for the engaging and quite addictive platforming gameplay. CreaVures is one of the biggest surprises Iíve seen on the App Store this year and an experience that no iPad owner should skip. I can only hope this game comes to the XBLA or PSN so I can experience it in HD on the big screen where it deserves to be played.