Developer: Axis Sivitz
Publisher: Axis Sivitz
Platforms: iPhone (reviewed), iTouch and iPad
Release Date: July 31, 2012
Price: $0.99 – Available Here
Button Brigade is a simple looking iOS game with a basic idea, to make it through each level without dying. There are several ‘buttons’, or special items that you can use to make it through each level, and this is part of what sets the game apart. However, does this game establish itself enough from the pack? Or is it yet another iOS arcade leveler?
You control a ‘worm’, which is really a line of white dots, as it tries to make its way around a factory. The factory happens to be a ‘button’ factory, with each button having certain special skills like keys, bombs, blasters, and so on. You can use these to your advantage in situations, and usually if there is a button around it’s there for a purpose.
You can also move buttons around yourself, so if there are buttons lying around chances are they’re going to come in handy and it’d be a good idea to attach yourself to them just in case. Especially since there are enemy worms going around, smaller blue ones that will cause your health to drop if you come in contact with them.
The buttons that you can move include the ones that would usually do you harm, which you can set off (if they’re bombs), or use as your own weapon without hurting yourself. This works out fantastically well, and in some instances you can just roam around killing your enemies casually without too much trouble. That tends to simplify a level if it’s an option, but it won’t be one that you run into too much. Most times your item will be disposable, or will require some input from you to hurt those around you (i.e. aiming your attack).
You don’t have a health bar, but you can take a hit without dying and you will regenerate health in a fairly short period of time, so if you accidentally set a bomb off near you then you can survive the blast. It’s handy for those small incidental damage that you’ll get, but if you are killed then you’re sent back to the beginning of the stage (which can be a pain if you’ve passed some tricky points so far).
While the gameplay is very simple and quite easy to pick up, that doesn’t discount the fun and challenge that you can get from this game. It does involve some tactics and flexing that brain of yours to get through levels, which is always nice to see in a game.
The learning curve is pretty gradual, which is nice. You’ll still be picking up knowledge and new items that you can use a fair few stages into the game, and it seems to be timed quite well. Even though in the earlier stages you don’t have all the information there is still enough of an interesting layout to allow you not to get bored.
There are a few issues with the responsiveness of the app, and some times you will find that the worm won’t really register what you want to do properly and in moments of high tension this might become a source of some frustration.
Visually the game is nothing special or interesting. It gets by on the bare minimum, which may be a mark against it in terms of technical quality, but to be honest it doesn’t need flashy graphics. They could have added a bit more to the game in terms of making it look a bit cooler and giving off a better first impression. Once you get invested enough in the game it doesn’t matter too much though.
Like the graphics, the soundtrack is kind of like a bare minimum of an arcade game. It isn’t too annoying or in your face, and it can be tolerated pretty well so you probably won’t be hurrying to switch it off, but again it doesn’t do much to improve the game. It’s sort of just a take it or leave it scenario.
Button Brigade is the sort of app that doesn’t jump out at you. In the description or in screen shots it doesn’t appeal immediately or suddenly grab you and demand you play it. However, that doesn’t mean you should write it off at all. It is a challenging and interesting game that deserves some attention and play time, which is more than can be said of some games that have good first impressions. It certainly deserves a play through, because with its learning curve it keeps itself fresh and interesting for quite a while (certainly far longer than other games).
So forgive the sparse graphics and the fact that it sounds just like any other arcade game, except with a bit of an odder premise and gameplay style, it is an interesting game that should keep you entertained for a while.