I’m starting to get puzzler deja vu
If developers make games to suit the desires of a platform’s audience, iOS gamers must want nothing but physics-based puzzle games in which they collect three of something. Cyto is just that, another in a long line of puzzle games that tasks players with reaching the level’s exit portal while collecting several odds and ends on their way out. I don’t want to be overly cynical about Cyto, but the pervasive feeling that there are so many other games doing nearly the exact same thing on the App store gets in the way of being fully engrossed in its world.
You play as a cell who has lost his memory, and progressing through each level (while getting the collectibles) unlocks little tidbits of story. The actual mechanics are intuitive, your cell is stuck to a larger mass (usually to a little patch of flagellum-like things) and you drag the character Angry Birds style to sling him to the next patch, then to the next, and eventually the exit. Your secondary objective is to collect things as you fling yourself towards the exit.
Cyto comes into its own once further mechanics are layered on to the core flinging. Dragging between two cells, for instance, allows you to form a sling between them. This connected sling allows you to fly further than a regular single-sided sling. My main issue with Cyto’s mechanics is rooted in the normal mode of slinging, where the character is just rooted to a single mass. As you drag the character away from the mass to sling him, you can only fling yourself tangentially to the point you are rooted at (although the game gives you a little wiggle room). This makes movement frustrating. You are able to drag your character in any number of directions, and often time’s I would like the freedom to see what would happen if I let the character fly from where I want. I know this is rooted in how the game handles (or doesn’t handle) the physicality of the elastic matter between the cell and the patch of flagellum, but it stands in the way of immersion.
The world of Cyto is colorful, crisp and set against the backdrop of an atmospheric soundtrack. While the art and music are unique and pleasant, they feel reminiscent of games like Contre Jour or many other indie platformers.
My nitpicks with how the character is launched don’t stop Cyto from being an overall decent physics puzzle game, one of the many of its kind on the App Store.
Cyto is available as a Universal app for $0.99