Konami may have just sneezed out the next Cut the Rope…
I have a big soft spot for games that, on the surface, have an innocent simplicity to them, yet when you dig deeper you find a rich gameplay experience. Cut the Rope had that in abundance, and now, so does Gesundheit.
Apart from the option of collecting three stars in each level though, Gesundheit is nothing like Cut the Rope. You play as a pig like character who, after being teased for his runny nose, has the last laugh as the bullies are eaten by nasty red monsters. It turns out, that his snot is actually pretty useful for thwarting this monster attack, due to said monsters being partial to a drop of the green stuff. So, off you trot on a quest to rid the land of the red nasties.
Each of the 40 levels presents you with a top down view of your play area, which generally consists of maze-like towns, forests and islands. Dotted around these areas are a couple of red monsters, the previously mentioned stars, and a mantrap or two. The objective of each level is to tease the monsters from their slumber and into the man-traps using your super propelled snot, all the while ensuring you collect as many stars as possible.
While it is possible to complete levels or even skip to the next without collecting stars (a la Cut the Rope), you will eventually come to a dead stop at a star door. And without enough stars to pass through, you will not be able to progress to the next selection of levels. The stars are pretty fragile too, so don’t let a monster touch them or they’ll turn to crumbs. Likewise, you mustn’t hit them with your snot, as once more they will crumble. Each level ends once the monsters are no more, so you must make sure you collect any stars before you end the level, otherwise you’ll miss out.
So, right now you might be thinking this all sounds a bit juvenile, hurling snot around the place. Well, of course it is, but it is the intuitive way you hurl it, combined with the devilish puzzles that win out. Not only must you be deadly accurate with your snot hurling by using a catapult-style drag-and-release control mechanic, but you must also navigate the levels’ mazes with stealthily precision too. Tapping anywhere on screen will cause your little pig fella to move to that position. However, should you come into view (line-of-sight) with any creature, they will come running for you. You can run away of course, but you’ll find yourself frantically hurling snot left, right and center in a bid to distract the creature and find a hiding spot out of site. No, the true objective is to be sneaky, and affect the monsters’ positions by snot placement alone, all the while keeping out of sight.
Like any puzzle game, just when you get comfortable with it, it throws you a few curve balls. The first you’ll come across are Mosquitos. While the monsters are limited to land movement, the Mosquitos can move across water too. So, once more if you think you are out of the line of site of a monster, you may find that a Mosquito has in fact spotted you. Should this happen you’ll be witness to a rather gruesome, but funny, head sucking death scene. Like monsters, the only way to dispose of them is to lure them towards the mantraps with your snot. A particularly tricky level mid way through the game, sees you frantically running away from a pack of Mosquitos, while avoiding the man-traps but sticking close enough so the Mosquitos in pursuit are not so lucky.
Other puzzle elements thrown into the mix include warp pads. You can teleport from any solid colour star pad, to its outlined cousin. Monsters can pass through too, and more importantly so can snot. Portal-like situation arise where you must use all three scenarios, angling the snot through one warp pad, through to another and then leading the monsters though other warp pads, onto the correct mantrap.
Snot also gets new features too. In its basic guise you can angle snot and set it’s power using the pull and release drag method to your desired length and then fire. Objects around the level can influence you’re your snot, upgrading its power somewhat. Flowers, for example, induce stronger sneezing when near by, giving your snot a far larger range. Grass on the other hand makes your snot sticky, allowing you to slingshot your self from island to island.
These new features and others, ensure that each level tests you more and more, keeping the puzzles challenging and the gameplay as fresh as the first. Because of this, the game is incredibly addictive. It’s really hard to put down, even when a level seems impossible. You’ll want to crack it just to see what’s coming next.
Playing an important supporting role to the gameplay, are the hugely creative and endearing visuals and music. The whole game has a handmade/hand drawn feel to it, as if each level is rendered in crayon. Some people may not like that kiddy cartoon style, but for me it only makes the gameplay shine through that much more. A smal detail that impressed me was the fact that if you tilt the device, the shadows in the game change angle. It’s pointless of course, but shows the detail and love put into this game. The music too, is excellent, with a Medieval-meets-Mexican vibe that is both toe-tappingly catchy and irritating in equal measure.
Among all the games trying to push hugely detailed worlds, and console-like experiences, it’s always nice to find a game that fits perfectly within its iOS surroundings. Delivering a tight, focused and tailor-made experience that I challenge any gamer not to fall in love with. It joins like-minded titles like Bumpy Road, as true AppStore gems.