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Review: V is for Vortex

December 27, 2009 , Posted by App-reciation Reviews at 10:13 PM

Category: Games

Price: $ 0.99
Requirements: iPhone or iPod touch, OS 3.0 or later

What's good: Inspired by Valve Corporation's Portal, V is for Vortex is a simple recreation that's tailored especially for the iPhone or iPod touch. From this conceptual springboard, independent developer Jonathan Mulcahy faithfully develops his own unique gameplay and storyline, which finds you alone and deserted in a strange testing facility. Equipped with nothing but a gun, you are expected to find your way out by cleverly maneuvering tricky passages and mazes. You certainly do some amount of walking and jumping, but the solution mostly lies with the portals you create with your weapon - where you position each opening and how you pass through are critical to your success. In the course of the game you'll be met with wall barriers, endless pits, blockaded exits, and various other obstacles you must use your head to overcome. In most cases, it will seem impossible to get from where you are to where you intend to go, but of course these times are when your extraordinary gun comes into play. The game challenges you to take a normal environment and envision it in an entirely different way - expanding your imagination as you work out strategies to transcend physical hindrances by manipulating space to allow yourself (and in some instances other objects) passage to a different location on the screen. There is never just a single solution to each stage, so you are given free reign of your creativity and logical skills to solve puzzles the way you wish. The haunting soundtrack does much to enhance gameplay, and while the drawn graphics are nothing spectacular, we like the refreshing simplicity it brings to the app. Overall, this is a good game to pick up, and with the updates that promise to add up to 108 levels, very much worth $ 0.99.

Suggestions for improvement: This needs an instructions panel for people who aren't familiar with the portal concept. We also had an issue with the fact that you start back at level one everytime you quit Story Mode. Controls can be more accurate, too - portals don't always appear precisely where you touch on the screen.

Graphics - 4/5 Creativity - 4/5 Gameplay - 4.5/5 Controls - 4/5
App-reciation - 4/5

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