Kiss My Yasi, by developer One Tree Games, is the kind of app we don’t see a lot of here at the iPhone App Review. It’s a disaster management game based around 2011’s Cyclone Yasi, which devastated parts of Queensland. The game tests your disaster preparedness mettle by asking you to prepare towns for an oncoming cyclone. It’s rough gameplay, but not only will it keep you entertained, it’ll also go toward a good cause: For every purchase, One Tree Games donates a dollar to the Queensland Premier’s Disaster Relief Appeal.
Concept and Gameplay
The idea behind Kiss My Yasi (for all you non-Aussies, “Kiss my Yasi!” was a popular phrase during the time of the storm) is deceptively simple: An oncoming cyclone threatens to demolish buildings, farms and machinery unless you clean up the mess beforehand. To do so, you’ll need to tape-up buildings, put paneling over windows, add sandbags to low areas, etc. You’re only given so many resources per level, as well, meaning you’ll have to anticipate the storm’s path, and then plan accordingly.
It’s a nerve-racking experience, and an oddly eery one. The game’s haunting soundtrack and storm sounds make the moments just before the storm hits home quite emotional. The fun of the game is locked inside the times it makes you wait, wondering if the cyclone is wrecking a house you just fortified. As the levels grow, the experience becomes more hectic. There were genuinely moments when I felt frustrated at my own inability to save certain houses, or remove enough boats: Exactly the sensation the developers wanted to create, I’m sure.
Design and Graphics
Kiss My Yasi looks fantastic on the iPhone, though the app isn’t quite a full package yet. The levels have been designed quite expertly, and the graphics themselves are tasteful: I particularly liked the cyclone itself, which is every bit as intimidating as I’d hoped it would be. However, Kiss My Yasi sports only 25 levels with the current update, a number that allows for about a thirty minute play through. The developers promise more levels are in the works, though, which means this boat isn’t sunk just yet. There’s also not a lot of replay incentive, once a level has been beaten with three stars. Game Center integration would go a long way towards adding the much needed carrot-on-a-stick to the mix.
As an iPhone game, Kiss My Yasi had been a bit pricy, clocking in at three American dollars. However, the price has recently been dropped to only $.99 and $0.33 from every purchase goes towards the Australian Queensland Premier’s Disaster Relief Fund. The gameplay is fresh and new—not to mention tense—meaning for the price of entry, you can experience true storm-based fear while helping those who already have. And that sounds like a winner to us.
Kiss My Yasi requires iOS 3.0 or later and is compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. A small expedite fee was paid by the developer to speed up the publication of this review.
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