Going up is what we all strive for. Higher salary, more responsibility, bigger more expensive car, and the next Apple device with a higher number after the name. Since this is a need we have been born with it is not that strange that a huge quantity of games is all about going up. The first hit was Doodle Jump, and since then I have spotted at least one new entry each week. That an established publisher like Namco Bandai jumps on the trend is not too strange. Their favorite puck shaped character has already been involved in most popular genres for iOS, and even in a jump as high as possible game as well: Pac’N-Jump.
In Heli-Awesome! you control a young hipster with a head mounted rotor. Tilting your device controls movement, and there is a sensitivity setting in the options to tune it to your liking. You navigate a set path with enemies, and obstacles slowing you down. Orbs and powerups help you keep ahead of the large pincer-wielding robot chasing you upwards. The controls are quite slow even with the sensitivity set to almost max. Too often I found that I actually save time going straight through an obstacle than trying to avoid it.
The graphics are bright and colorful, but doesn´t bring anything new to the table. The backgrounds can at times become confused with the actual obstacles you have to avoid.
The music is terrible, and annoys me right away. It is the kind of stuff that seem to be included in most casual games nowadays, and lacks personality. You can listen to your own music instead.
After the pincer has grabbed your helmet flying youngster you get a payout of crystals. These can be used to purchase new characters, upgrade abilities and unlock new levels. A handy ability that lets you slow down by touching the screen needs to be unlocked, and purchased this way. To really get good scores you will have to either spend a sickening amount of time with the game or buy crystals using IAP. To me this is not cool, and needless to say the leaderboards will reflect this fact. Someone who has spent wicked dollars will beat my scores using a less upgraded character. Skill matters less than the tendency to spend money. This is a shame as the game is actually quite fun to play. But a casual game where your score is what matters breaks easily when cheating becomes a part of the formula. It also baffles me that the unlockable characters are all unknown instead of using some of the icons in the Namco back catalogue.
Fun and simple gameplay, meets generic graphics and horrible music in Heli-Awesome! OpenFeint and Game Center integration is great, but with the ability to IAP your way to greatness it means the scoreboards can’t be trusted as an accurate gauge to your high flying skills.
Seller: Namco Bandai