by Matt Dunn
Veiled Games has been mentioned in almost every one of our podcasts for their fantastic blog, which candidly reveals and comments on iPhone games, from conception to release on the App store and beyond. So how does their own game fare in this race that is iPhone Gaming?
Up There is the type of game that has a thousand variations on the app store. The style is, put simple: “tilt your iPhone to avoid XYZ as your character moves constantly in a certain direction.” This remains one of the most simple concepts in all of gaming history, and it generally makes for a casual game that is mediocre at best. But Up There is so, so much more, and I don’t know how much of it is the developers intent, or my own imagination grasping for my own little bit of freedom from everything in my life that’s trying to keep me down.
You see, in Up There, you are a balloon that starts out trapped in a cage. The cage we are all so aware of in our own lives. You know what I’m talking about! The balloon breaks free, and as it floats upward to the sky, and inevitable freedom, barriers rain down in every form to suppress you. Shelves, planks, branches, you name it; they don’t want you to succeed. As you progress higher and higher, it becomes more and more difficult to see the path ahead, as the world races by around you. You will rush ahead in joy only to be pushed back down again. It’s a thrilling piece of escapism.
Presentation and Graphics:
Simple and beautiful. Bursting out of the trees to that sun and blue sky was an experience I wish I could have experienced for a bit longer!
Introspective and breathtaking soundtrack. Whoever wrote the piano piece should win an award.
Perfect tilt controls. I’ve never experienced a game that will both sooth your soul, while keeping you on the edge of your seat. You will forget to breath. You will forget to blink.
The definition of a casual mobile game. One mode. One story. You play until you cannot go any higher. Online leader boards with daily, weekly, and overall totals will keep you coming back for a while. Would be nice to other levels/modes in the future.
Never has such a simple iPhone game been executed with such elegance, precision, and most importantly, a huge truckload of HEART. Up There isn’t as much a game, as it is a allegory to the fragile nature of human existence, and it’s constant struggle to achieve something greater. Something that seems so close, but slips away at the last second. You are the balloon.
This experience:, for $1.99.
P.S. No, I’m not “high” (lol) for giving a simple game like this such a good score. We review all games for what they are on their own. This is not a game that needs online multiplayer, levels of difficulty, downloadable content, etc, to be a completely satisfying.