Take a slice of Sonic 2′s special 3D bonus stages, mix with a pinch of Mario Kart’s Rainbow Road, add half a pound of escargot, a teaspoon of racer, a shot of platformer and a handful of prepared silky smooth tilt controls, bring to the boil, sieve and serve. No this isn’t Gordon Ramsey’s latest culinary creation but an exercise in how to make one of the most enjoyable games on iPhone.
Snail Mail by Sandlot Games puts you in control of Turbo the Snail. Apparently space Slug pirates are meddling with the intergalactic mail service. So it’s up to new postal recruit Turbo, to retrieve any stolen post and deliver it on time.
From the main menu you have 3 modes, the meat and potatoes of the game is the story mode, which takes you through different regions of the galaxy and increasing difficulty levels. Time trail allows you to revisit levels to challenge your own times and get higher scores. And then there’s challenge mode, where you can customise the speed of Turbo and the difficulty setting and see how far you can go. Putting both speed and difficulty to max setting is nearly impossible to control, but it’s a fun addition and a good way of adding replay value once you’ve completed the story missions.
Once in the game you are presented with a sloping, twisting and sometimes looping track suspended in space. There is no speed control, instead you simply control Turbo left to right to keep him on the moving track and avoid oncoming obstacles, such as asteroids, salt deposits and those nasty Slug Pirates. There are powerups to help Turbo, he has a shell mounted, tap activated, laser which can be upgraded… also speed pads, jump pads and turbo rings help him on his way.
The accelerometer tilt controls work flawlessly on this game, offering the perfect balance of speed, reaction and sensitivity. There levels offer a good challenge and a great sense of speed. With large gaps for turbo to jump and loops and twist that without careful control will see Turbo skid off track and into deep space.
Presentation and Graphics
Silky smooth frame rate and cute cel shaded graphics.
Fun musical score, with good sound effects especially Turbo’s amusing voice.
Fast, challenging and great fun. A mix of platformer and racer. The tilt controls are perfect. Sandlot have delivered the closest thing to Sonic so far.
There’s 50 increasingly difficult levels to speed through. Plus the added time trail and the crazy challenge mode to keep you going long after the missions have dried up.
Snail mail is a great game, and a perfect fit for iPhone. At only $1.99 you’d be crazy not to pick this up.