Mobile games are now as common place as sliced bread. Whether you’re sat in a pub, classroom, bus or a bar mitzvah, chances are most people around you are furiously swiping and fingering their mobile phones to ease the slow passage of time. Games like Temple Run and Candy Crush have given people of all ages and creeds the opportunity to dabble in a new past time and it’s for this reason that the mobile gaming industry, as much as people don’t like it, is raking in billions. I for one don’t particularly care for mobile industry and I restrain myself from conforming to this rather naff form of gaming, however saying that I have embarrassingly spent over a dozen hours playing on WWE Supercard, but wrestling is awesome so it’s justified. These days I don’t find myself in a position to browse for games to play on my phone and unless a new Rayman is releasing any time soon then I won’t bother researching, however I’ll gladly take an invitation from a tiny mobile studio to give their latest game a crack. So to get in the right frame of mind to play a new mobile title I’ve bought a day rover bus ticket and I’ll spend the next few hours bus hopping and learn the ways of the casual mobile game fanatic, sure I could have just stayed at home but I’m a method actor!
‘Syn’ is a brand new fast paced puzzle game from tiny 3 desk studio gogododo, who have had previous success with their debut iOS title ‘Flip Tag Madrid’ released in 2012. ‘Syn’ has been made in a ‘microbiological’ style of gameplay where you must catch tiny organisms called ‘aminos’ to upgrade your Synthetic organism’s, or Syn’s, genes and fight off the deadly infectious malcrobes. The aim of the game is to avoid these dark malcrobes and break through ‘bonds’ that release the aminos to prolong your syn’s life and tail length. Similar to how classic games like ‘Snake’ handle, success comes in the form of avoiding the games treacherous obstacles for as long as possible whilst reaping the rewards that appear. Syn requires you to keep continuous touch throughout the game to move your organism, and simply taking your finger away from the screen will instantly pause the game and take you to the menu screen. With an innovative orbital menu and fast paced gameplay, the team at gogododo are certainly boasting about their latest project, but is it any good?
The tutorial is the first game mode you get your finger on to and the game itself sounds fairly straightforward and self explanatory, which can’t be said for the game’s menu. Before I could even start playing properly, this ‘innovative orbital menu’ really should have been named the ‘howdoIstartplaying orbital menu’ as there is nothing there to assist you in which option does what. I was able to adjust the audio settings and visit the in-game store easily enough from the symbol s that were used, but ultimately I couldn’t work out how to start a new game. Eventually after pressing each option I could figure out how to navigate around the menu, however I do forget each time I come to play it, so not off to the best of starts.
The gameplay itself is rather exciting to play, whether it’s in short bursts or if you’re trying to keep that super long combo on the go. Maintaining a strong combo not only gives you a bigger score but your organisms tail extends which becomes your health bar and an important thing to keep your eye on. Players are only given 8 seconds to break a bond, which can be a frantic task if you’re at the top of the screen and you’re surrounded by evil malcrobes. The more bonds the player breaks means more aminos are freed and subsequently the more malcrobes that appear to trip you up. When I was invited to test the game out I was told the system of preference was an iPad, at first I didn’t think anything of it but it was only once my thumb was getting in the way on a small screened iPhone 5 that I realised why. Not that I have particular large fingers, they’re rather dainty if anything, but when the screen is full of obstacles to avoid and bonds to break, your chunky finger can become far too distracting, which when tested on a friend’s iPad I found wasn’t too much of an issue. Initially you only start with one game mode, but the more aminos you collect from endless playing allows you to unlock an online mode as well as a much more challenging Wave mode and a classic mode. As easy as this sounds however I can tell you it isn’t, just to unlock another mode costs you 1000 aminos, which for a game that doesn’t score you too highly if you don’t put the time in is a rather tall order. Likewise with unlocking gaming modes, you can also purchase upgrades for your Syn, giving you temporary invincibility, making you faster or making the playing field more of a walk in the park. As a running theme with mobile games, you can also use your real hard earned cash to purchase additional aminos to help you unlock upgrades, but if you knuckle down in the limited game modes you begin with you’ll not need your debit card.
Gogododo promised a fast paced game and I can’t deny that it is. Syn plays very smoothly, it’s presented very neatly, looks simple yet sharp and it nicely keeps up with its own speed and doesn’t hinder the game’s performance. There isn’t a lot to do in the game in all honesty but the different game modes you eventually unlock do add a certain degree of variety to your playing experience, if you can hack a large amount of playing to do so. It’s a game that works better on a larger screened device than an iPhone as your finger of choice can become too distracting when the game gets too fast and chaotic. The game’s menu is infuriating and difficult to navigate around without so much of a signpost telling you what to press, so as much as the ability to instantly pause the game is rather innovative, the orbital design is anything but. Syn is a pretty good game but it seems like the studio’s desire to create something unique has somewhat stopped it from being a great game.
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.