HelpLarva iPhone game killed by its own mundanity

Jan 24, 2011
Games

It’s easy to see the wheels turning during the development of HelpLarva. “An adventure title with some puzzle elements! Colorful! Cute creatures as main characters! Angry Birds 2 here we come!” But HelpLarva lacks even a shred of the clever humor or addictive puzzles that helped define Angry Birds. What’s worse, a strange bug derails […]

It’s easy to see the wheels turning during the development of HelpLarva. “An adventure title with some puzzle elements! Colorful! Cute creatures as main characters! Angry Birds 2 here we come!” But HelpLarva lacks even a shred of the clever humor or addictive puzzles that helped define Angry Birds.

What’s worse, a strange bug derails the entire game less than a dozen levels in, making this app an immediate non-starter, at least until an update is released. The glitch occurs at the start of the eighth puzzle. While the centerpiece of HelpLarva’s gameplay involves moving blocks around to help a larva make its way over to the apple that it lusts after, the eighth level never gets going because there is a block impeding your path from the get go.

Ordinarily, moving the block wouldn’t be a problem and would allow the level to continue, but the block is placed directly over the opaque “Menu” button. Every time you attempt to tap the block to move it, you instead tap the menu. Your HelpLarva experience ends here.

Even in earlier levels, there’s a certain malaise that defines the HelpLarva experience. You can’t solve these puzzles without moving blocks everywhere, which means your fingers have to be all over the screen as you manipulate the blocks. This makes the actual game hard to look at and appreciate.

Your larva is also a pretty laid back little thing. In no hurry to get anywhere, it can be frustrating to sit and wait for it to arrive where you need it to be. There is a button that makes your larva “angry” thus making it hustle a bit more, but some median speed between the two options seems like it would have been preferable.

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Visually, HelpLarva is decent looking. It has a very vibrant look full of colorful backgrounds. At its heart it’s still a simple puzzle game, so it’s not exactly looking to blow anyone away with visual prowess, but given the rest of the game, the graphics are certainly the strong point.

Even if the game didn’t become unplayable so early, it would be hard to recommend HelpLarva. Perhaps if an update comes around that fixes the game-killing glitch and also gives the title some much needed depth, HelpLarva will be worth revisiting. For now, it is strictly larva in a world full of grown-up apps.

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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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