With its retro-flavored pixel art, charming character design, and devious platform-based puzzles, Cavorite from Cascadia Games should be a sure-fire hit on the iPhone. However, as with so many games of this style, the choice of platform could be its fatal flaw.
There’s no question, Cavorite is a well-designed game full of personality and challenge. However, the lack of buttons on the iPhone make solving some of the precision-based puzzles far more challenging than they should be. And when level grades are given based on timing, mistakes caused by floaty controls can be infuriating.
In Cavorite, you play as a scientist who roams through caverns armed only with his magical spray can. Spraying his special element onto crates causes them to float into the air. These crates are used to hit switches, defeat enemies, ride platforms, and carry the scientist to higher ground.
This last ability is perhaps the element of the game that suffers most from the lack of tactile buttons, as maneuvering the floating crate requires a combination of button presses that if timed incorrectly will force you to start all over again, as the timer keeps on ticking. Oftentimes, these accidental errors will put you in a position where the level is unsolvable, and needs to be completely restarted. Frustrating.
Again, these control issues get in the way of a potentially wonderful game. The graphical style is reminiscent of other recent retro-themed games, such as Cave Story or Super Meat Boy and the puzzles ad gameplay style fit right in with games like Mario vs. Donkey Kong. Yet all these wonderful characteristics are moot when coupled with the imprecise control sheme. Cavorite would be best served if the publishers decided to release it on a platform such as PSP Minis, the Nintendo eShop, or even one of the Xbox Live platforms.
Bottom Line: If you’re able to get past the control issues caused by the on-screen buttons, Cavorite has a lot of potential. If not, hold out for a different platform.
Cavorite is compatible with iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPod touch (2nd generation), iPod touch (3rd generation), and iPod touch (4th generation). Requires iOS 4.1 or later.