Life might seem incredibly unpredictable, and full of chaos. When you view the small picture it is, but take a step or two back and you will find order. Up close the pain of the zebra stuck in the jaws of an alligator is real, and to the zebra it is the last chaotic moments alive. As we view the scene from a far we can see a pattern. Take the perspective even further out, and we will see a recurring pattern over time. That pattern is life, the will to survive and the search for food. This pattern follows the seasons, and is mandatory to the species involved. As herbivores migrate to ancient places to feed so does the carnivores. You have to guide the migrating monarch butterflies, salmon, zebras and red crabs avoiding perils.
Great Migrations is a line drawing game in the vein of Flight Control, and Harbor Master. By tapping a butterfly you select it, and if you circle around you can get some followers following the leader. To gain bonus multipliers it is best to keep as few leaders as possible. You can redirect leaders as many times you want, and the goal is to reach the other side of the screen. Predators roam the trail, and you have to avoid them at all costs. Some predators are flexible following or even anticipating the movement, and others have set patterns they follow.
The controls work really well despite the lines being slightly thin, and somewhat ugly and jagged. The line you draw changes colour depending on the level of danger the path poses. Wind affect the light butterflies. Great Migrations come with four levels of difficulty across 64 migration waves for four different species. It is a massive undertaking completing the game as each wave gets longer, and longer. At times it becomes a bit tiresome, and thankfully there are a bunch of powerups to spice up the game.
I have played this game for quite a while, and it is having issues saving my progress. My profile gets reset, and it has been a problem for both the previous 1.0 version, and the current 1.1 version. As you have to complete migration waves to unlock the survival mode it is a game breaker to me. Hopefully this will be completely remedied soon. For now I have to rate the game with the save game issues.
The setting for the game is beautiful, as is the original show aired on the National Geographic Channel. Terrain is lush, and the animals move in a realistic manner. You also get a field guide with images for your achievement. As my profile keeps resetting I have yet to see any achievement images showing up.
The music is perfect menacing orchestral music suitable to the life and death gameplay. Sound effects are ok, but sadly the game fades away your own music.
Great Migrations could have been a great addition to the line drawing genre taking a more sincere theme to the touch screen. The save game issues, too long winded migration waves, along with the sloppy line graphic draw the final rating down significantly.
Great Migrations $2.99
Seller: National Geographic Society