Price: $ .99
Meatball Marathon Premium, by Ingenieria Digital Oviedo, is a solid running title for the iPhone. It comes with a unique concept, excellent cell-shaded graphics, and a heap of levels to play through. The game’s flow is off more often than not, but at the end of the day, Meatball Marathon Premium is a bargain priced running game that’ll certainly tickle your jogging pickle.
Concept and Gameplay
The plot of Meatball Marathon Premium centers around the psychoanalytical nightmare Snacky G. The man has always wanted to be a superhero, but he’s also loved snack foods with a passion. Apparently, when the two are combined, they translate into several hours worth of running atop buildings, jumping over and on objects, and collecting hamburgers in the city skyline.
It’s a great concept, and provides a solid—if a bit vague—plot for the game. In a more concrete sense, players are expected to collect as much of the available snack food as they can, dodging obstacles while making sure they don’t fall behind. The controls are simple—tap right to jump, tap left to shoot an Ocarina of Time style hook—and the premise easy enough for your Grandmother to pick up on.
That being said, the levels themselves can often be quite a drag. I found myself repeatedly slamming into the same objects, or missing the same jump because I could see no obvious way to progress. This contrasts with the idea of a challenge: I simply couldn’t see how something was even possible. Eventually, I would discover what the game “wanted” of me, but this style of bug really detracted from the flow and experience of the game.
Design and Graphics
This concept, of course, bleeds over into the level design itself. Though the levels look great (it’s worth noting that the cell-shaded graphics Meatball Marathon Premium is sporting look fantastic on the iPhone) they often simply weren’t designed well. Jumps would be oddly spaced, or a dangerous object would be placed just so after a jump, making it nearly impossible to avoid. In each case, it seemed like objects were spaced with a theoretical ability to clear them. What I mean is, I felt like I was being given the bare amount of space to perform an action, leaving the levels to feel tight and mean. Users can create their own levels and submit them for review, which is nice, and very much needed.
Where Meatball Marathon Premium doesn’t win in design, though, it does win in charm. The game’s character is hilarious, and the graphics are top-notch. The level construction is far from perfect, but as a running title, Meatball Marathon Premium is still solid. The humor is excellent, the gameplay fair, and the price right ($ .99 in the App Store).
Meatball Marathon Premium 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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