iPhone/iPad review of the day: Soosiz takes a gravity-defying, Super Mario-inspired trip around the world

On iPhone
Price: $1.99 / £1.23
Size: 94.3 MB
Get it now on iTunes: US / UK

On iPad

Soosiz HD
Price: $1.99 / £1.23

Size: 70.9 MB

Get it now on iTunes: US / UK

A perfect platformer is a hard thing to create. Although many companies try their hand at it, few succeed in quite the way that seems to hook gamers bait, line and sinker. However, mobile company Touch Foo just might have the formula down with Soosiz, a happy little game for the iPhone and iPad that combines crisp 2D design, platforming with a few cool twists, and cute character design for an irresistible combination.

Soosiz tells the tale of a peaceful race of creatures that unexpectedly encounter an ancient evil lurking deep in the woods and are scattered to the four corners of the planet. All but one, of course, who is destined to become a hero (there's always one left to fight the good fight, isn't there?). This little guy is who you're going to play, and the game opens with a training level that shows you the ins and outs of how to control him.

Speaking of controls, even though the buttons to do so are on the screen, they are easy to manage and never made us feel as if we had to peer around our fingers to see the action. Since the game is 2D, you have a back and forward arrow button down in the bottom left corner of your screen, and a jump button in the far bottom right. In later levels, you'll also tilt your device on certain levels to move your character, which offers a bit of extra fun.

There are monsters in the world, and you'll kill them Super Mario style, with a well placed head stomping. You'll also collect coins, which you can save up 100 of to gain "Star Power", which is just a bit of invincibility. It all seems fairly straightforward and familiar, in fact, until you find out you can jump back and forth, but also up to surfaces above and below you, which will trigger a switch in gravity and enable you to walk wherever you land (assuming you DO land). Soon, you'll find yourself navigating much larger maps (and there's a handy magnifying glass in the top right corner that allows you to zoom in and out, so you can get a better look at the playing field). The goal of each level is to collect coins, find stranded creatures and save them, and eventually make your way to the goal.

In addition to these main levels, which can be easily navigated on the map with the tap of a finger, you will also get the chance to play special "blue coin" levels which are timed. You have to get all of the coins in the level or you won't get anything, so these make take a little practice to master, but you'll earn achievements for making really good time in these worlds. Speaking of achievements, Soosiz has quite few for you with the help of Game Center. I counted 23 in total, which is not too shabby. If you're a completionist, that ought to keep you busy.

Soosiz offers seven worlds and 65 levels of gameplay, with a boss stage at the end of each world. You won't be able to help but smile at the first boss stage you play, because it's a fond homage to Super Mario 3's mini-castles with its rotating fire traps and baddies that require three jumps on the head to get rid of. You'll definitely see the difficulty ramp up as you progress through more complex worlds, dealing with lots of spiky traps and rolling balls, but you'll also get more environmental goodies to help you deal with it, such as vines you can walk along both sides of and springboards that allow you to jump towards the sky.

Soosiz offers a little something extra outside of the usual 2D platformer by enabling you to move all over your map instead of just in two directions, and it gives the gameplay a fresh feel. It's a great price for a lot of fun, and it's pretty to look at as well. You can't help but like the sound of that, can you?

Feb 24, 2011