Price: $2.99    Score: 9/10    Category: Games

Developed by Double Jungle, Gua-Le-Ni is a seriously unique game of animal taxonomy for iPad. With inspiration that I daresay was inspired by the Ligre of Napoleon Dynamite fame, Gua-Le-Ni is fun, original and challenging.

The story begins as an interactive book about taxonomy, where the player is introduced to the goal of the game by some great voice acting. The aim, as odd as it is, is to catalog Gua-Le-Ni’s strange beasts before they walk away from your page.

Each animal in Gua-Le-Ni is formed from a combination of different animal parts. As the beast walks across the screen you have to use the ‘taxonomic cubes’ below to spell out each part of the creature. The cubes themselves are 3D structures which can be lifted and spun with your fingers to reveal different parts of different animals. For example, “lob” features on the side of one cube, while “ster” features on another – together they form lobster.

But it’s not always that easy – a beast with the head of a camel, the body of a warthog and a camel plus the tail of a lobster involves four taxonomic cubes and it’s a real challenge to flick through all the available options. You’ve got to spell out the creature in time before your Ca-Hog-Mel-Ster casually saunters off the page.

As you progress into the game more taxonomic cubes get introduced and the beasts become more and more complex. Once you graduate through the first few stages of the Fiction mode, Non-fiction is unlocked which introduces another level of complexity. Each animal walks across the page faster than the last, and you need to utilize your food items which can be strategically dropped to slow down the beasts, giving you just enough time to catalog them away.

Gua-Le-Ni (iTunes Link) features some beautiful hand-drawn animations, high-quality voice acting and has a real polish to it. Entertaining and fun, and well worth a look.

Gua-Le-Ni is compatible with iPad. Requires iOS 4.2 or later. A small expedite fee was paid by the developer to speed up the publication of this review.

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