Barney & Echo: Dizzy Heights: iPhone Written App Review
Platform jumpers are one of the most straightforward game types out there. They also happen to be one of the most popular, and with good reason. Jumpers combine easy game mechanics with fun characters, and now the genre is going one step further to try to encourage kids to be educated and make good decisions. The combination comes to life in the Barney & Echo: Dizzy Heights iPhone app from Reckless New Media. How does this new take on a tried-and-true gaming platform play out? Read on and see.
Like most platform jumpers, in Dizzy Heights it is your job to lead a character (in this case an adorable squirrel named Dizzy) from platform to platform in search of ever greater heights. Along the way you’ll avoid the bad guys, which take the shape of spiders and other icky bugs, and collect boosts that help you along your way.
Here’s the twist. Sometimes the boost boxes will contain questions instead. Questions could be about any of the following topics: staying safe online, bullying, knife crime, drugs, tobacco, alcohol or the environment. For each question you answer correctly, your score will go up, up, up. Dizzy Heights integrates with OpenFeint so you’re top scores compete on a global level, which is a nice way to encourage you to play this game again and again.
While the combination of moral compass questions is a really interesting addition to the game, it does limit the app’s audience to a specific age set (about 6 to 15). Also, the game could use some variety, but it’s hard to complain about that when the devs make Dizzy Heights available free of charge.
Layout & Design:
As I mentioned briefly, Dizzy Heights does suffer a bit from a lack of variety. However, each time you play the platforms are randomized, which is interesting. Unfortunately that means you could also start the game with no platform underneath you, and the touchy tilt controls make that a difficult way to get going.
The existing graphics are bright, crisp and cartoon-style. If the forest changed a bit more quickly or included a wider variety of platform types, it might be a bit more fun to play.
Again, Dizzy Heights gets some bonus points for being a free download There is an unlockable pro version you can purchase in-app for $.99 that actually makes the game easier by giving Dizzy wider platforms to jump to and from and a higher bounce. If you plan on using this app as a parenting tool, I highly recommend spending the buck for a better gaming experience. All in all, Dizzy Heights is an interesting game with a lot of potential.
Barney & Echo: Dizzy Heights iPhone app requires iOS 3.1 or later and is compatible with iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. A small expedite fee was paid by the developer to speed up the publication of this review.
The iPhone App Review’s rating: