Above iPhone game scales the heights of fun

May 2, 2010
Games

Due to it is overall sparseness and simplicity, the  iPhone game ($1.99) is a bit of a strange app to discuss. On its surface, it shouldn’t really be worth talking about. The entire conceit of the game involves jumping on constantly rising platforms suspended in the air as your nameless character runs back and forth across […]

Due to it is overall sparseness and simplicity, the  iPhone game ($1.99) is a bit of a strange app to discuss. On its surface, it shouldn’t really be worth talking about. The entire conceit of the game involves jumping on constantly rising platforms suspended in the air as your nameless character runs back and forth across the screen. There are three different animated backgrounds of varying difficulty where this same activity takes place … and that’s the entire game. Describing Above isn’t nearly as fun as playing it, luckily.  

The game play is simple — press down anywhere on the iPhone screen and release when you’ve charged your jump. Early on, you’ll over-charge jumps, missing platforms, or undercharge them and take things a little too slowly.

You’ll know you’re hooked when you reach heights you previously thought were unimaginable; where the platforms suddenly either drop out shortly after you step on them, or propel you dozens of feet higher than normal when you jump off of them.

Even better is that Above tracks your best performances, so you’ll pass little markers, noting your past progress after repeating plays; sort of like passing the flags of people that couldn’t quite make it all the way up Everest.  

The three levels are decent enough to look at. They’re warmly colored — even the “Space” level — and have little nuances like trains running in the background or birds perched on your platforms. The visuals aren’t too important when you’re trying desperately to find another ledge to jump up on without falling to your untimely demise.

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There are things Above could do better, namely include a few more levels, but there are a set of challenges the game tasks you to complete if you wish that unlock a mysterious “secret,” so there is slightly more to this delightful iPhone game than meets the eye. Minor quibbles aside, this is an extremely addicting and affordable iPhone game that deserves to be played.

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Dan Kricke

Dan Kricke has been playing with electronics and writing about them for years. He loved his Sega Dreamcast and now the PlayStation 3. On the iPhone, he's a fan of sports apps and anything that offers new music.

 

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