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Curio for iOS

Curio for iOS

Platform: iPhone/iPod
Category: Action/Horror, Platformer

When Brain Blast Games offered me a horror title, Curio, to review for the iPhone, I was intrigued. Horror? I don't see that very often on the iOS. Then I tried it, and after less than a minute, I found myself mumbling, "what the heck?" Okay, it was a little more colorful than that. I think that question sums up the game, and I mean that in a good way! While I wouldn't exactly say it's scary in the sense that it would cause me to jump, it's definitely horror-themed and creepy and would be sure to scare a younger audience. It's odd, and more so, it's unsettling. It's a running title in which you go for a high score, and I like it!

The App Store asks gamers to "[help] Ron Templeton III blaze his path to freedom [from the mental asylum], but make sure he takes his pills, or else you'll lose your mind!" The main character, Ron, runs to the right of the screen automatically. Tap the screen to make him jump and try to escape the asylum. You'll want to avoid getting hit by any obstacles because as you hit things, a screw in the top right will slowly come out of a wood board. Get it? A loose screw? Ah, never mind! If you keep going long enough, you'll beat the level. If the screw comes out, you'll go insane!

Insanity doesn't mean it's over. When you go insane, you go into a strange parody of the main game. This is where I mumbled my first "what the heck." It looks like an 8-bit version of the main game. By collecting a star, Ron will regain his sanity and return to the normal game. In the insanity mode, you can't just tap anywhere to make Ron jump. Rather, you'll have to tap on an image of a face. Running into something will cause the level to rotate, leaving Ron running along the side of the screen or sometimes the top. Don't fall in the pit or you'll splatter and die! (And then it will be "sane over," as Curio calls it!)

Curio has a really interesting graphical style that's quite unique. In fact, both the regular mode and the insanity mode look good despite being quite different. The audio is very creepy and suits the game well. As you play, you unlock bonus material, including audio clips that tell a backstory. For a game with a simple mechanic (tap to jump) seen in many other games, it has a surprising amount of story and uniqueness. The audio clips feature great voice acting and a very engaging story that definitely intrigues me. Curio doesn't feature any instructions or tutorials, which might seem odd. Normally it would bother me, but the slight confusion of not knowing how to play and the unsettling feeling of the game combine to be a positive. It helps put you in the shoes of the character escaping a mental asylum. My only complaint is that there lacks descriptions of the DLC. What does it do? If you're asking for more money, you better specify why!

The main gameplay is a simple yet satisfying mechanic. Alone, it would already be worth the $0.99 asking price on the App Store, but it might not stand out from the crowd. With the horror theme, creepy atmosphere, two clashing graphical styles, unsettling feelings, odd insanity mode, excellent audio, and fascinating story, the game becomes much more. For less than you're likely to spend on a snack from a vending machine, you could experience this intriguing game.


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