Monday, June 24, 2013

Video Game Review: Cover Orange for iPhone

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Fun, creative levels built on a simple premise
Cons: If you get stuck on a level, it can get frustrating
The Bottom Line
Protect that orange
From the coming hail using
These random objects

Cover Those Oranges from the Coming Evil Hail Cloud

I confess; I never got into the Angry Birds craze.  I’m reluctant to pay for an iPhone app, and the free teaser version was just too hard for me.  But it seems to have set off many similar puzzle type games, and the one I have been enjoying is Cover Orange.  The premise is simple, but the execution is genius.

Your mission, should you chose to accept it, is to protect one or more oranges from the coming hail storm.  To do that, you are given things to drop that will either start the oranges rolling or enclose them so the hail stones won’t reach them.  You might be given a pyramid, a box, and a wagon wheel.  You are told up front exactly what items you have and the order you get to drop them.  You then decide where to drop them so that the oranges wind up safe.  After the last item falls, the storm cloud comes by dropping hail stones.  If you succeed, you get a score based on how quickly you solved the level.  If a stone hit an orange, it turns black and you get to start all over again.

The premise is the same in every level, but each one is different.  As you go along, they start to include new items that you have to use to save the oranges.  They even include mini-bombs in levels and you have to time the explosion just right or you blow up the orange.  Also, some levels don’t have a bottom, so if you aren’t careful, the orange will fall off the sides.

You can slide the items you are dropping by touching the screen of your iPod Touch, iPhone, or iPad and dragging it across the screen to where you want to drop it.  Lift your finger, and it starts to fall.  Each item projects an outline as you are dragging it, so you will know where it is going to land.

As you go along, the levels get harder.  There are some I’ve been stumped on.  When that happens, I’ll leave the game alone for a few days and then come back to it.  Fresh eyes seem to help solve those issues.  You can also skip a level and move on, coming back to it later.  There are currently 260 levels, although they unlock a few at a time as you beat them.  Still, there is plenty to keep you busy for a while.

The graphics on this one are decent.  Everything is animated, but you can tell exactly what you are looking at.  Every time I’ve hit a level I struggled with, it’s because I’m not thinking creatively enough and not because the image wasn’t clear.

There is music with the game, and it can be repetitive and annoying.  Plus those around you will wonder what you are doing.  The sound effects are tons of fun, from the squeals of terror of the oranges to the maniacal laughter of the cloud when it comes on screen.

That reminds me, be sure to watch the oranges as the cloud passes over head.  They will often hold up signs or get halos as they cower.  It’s another very funny touch.

My only real frustration with the game is that sometimes the covers you create don’t protect the oranges.  A hail stone will bounce weird or something will come lose and the orange will get hit.  I repeat the level, do the exact same thing, and I actually get a happy outcome that time with no hail coming close to the orange.  Then again, a few times I’ve passed a level by pure luck as the stones don’t find my only half protected orange, so it does work both ways.

I don’t play the game often, but when I am stuck somewhere waiting for a few minutes, Cover Orange is a go way to pass the time.

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