When I was a little boy, I used to play a game with a balloon. I’d hit it in the air and try to bounce it off my hands as many times as I could without it touching the ground. Clearly I wasn’t alone in this idea, as the team at Crawl Space Games has seemingly rummaged through my memories to create an iOS experience that speaks directly to my inner child.
In Float, balloons are released from the ceiling and players will tap on them to keep them from reaching the floor. And why can’t they touch the floor? Because it’s covered in deadly, balloon-popping spikes!
It’s a very simple concept, and admittedly one that seems to stem from the same child-like innocence as games like “Don’t step on the carpet, it’s lava!!” and “You can only step on the blue tiles!” As the parent of two young girls, I can assure you that the idea of keeping a balloon in the air above a floor covered in spikes is the sort of simple genius that can only spring from the mind of a child – and it’s totally delightful.
But while the idea is simple enough at its core, Float adds in a few neat twists that make it as challenging as it is addictive. During each stage, players will be presented with a dotted line. If you don’t tap the balloons until they fall below this line, you’ll get a massive bump up in score. Likewise, if you tap like-colored balloons in succession you’ll receive a combo bonus. So a game that’s as simple as tapping on balloons to keep them afloat can quickly become as difficult as tapping numerous balloons at the bottom of the screen, all while trying to tap like-colored inflatables in succession. In essence, the challenge is as deep as you want it to be. This user-determined level of difficulty is exactly why my three year old can enjoy Float just as much as I can.
In addition to the main mode, players can choose to play a timed game or a game in “zen mode.” The timed game adds a few neat twists in addition to the clock, like a counter that tracks how many successive taps each balloon has had in the bonus area. The timed mode plays much more like a unique experience than a simple reskinning of the main game with a clock tacked on – something that’s quickly becoming a rarity for iPhone games.
Zen mode in turn offers a simple mode that will easily appeal to the younger, less-skilled gamers in the crowd. Balloons continue to fall from above, but there’s no spiky danger at the bottom to bring the experience to an end. Three additional modes are currently available exclusively via in-app purchase, however the developer is currently stating that they’ve “heard you requests and the Game Mode Pack is going to be FREE in our coming update.” You’ve got to love it when a developer actually listens to player feedback.
Like Tiny Wings, Cut the Rope, and even Angry Birds, Float is a deceptively simple game that can be enjoyed endlessly, yet it’s smartly designed to be consumed in only the smallest of doses. Whether you’re looking to pass 15 seconds in a grocery line or 15 minutes on a lunch break, Float is the next pick up and play experience that you’ll absolutely want to pick up and play.