Whale Trail (iOS / Universal) Hands-on preview

October 11, 2011

Whale Trail is a new game for iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch (it’s a Universal app) due for release on 20th October 2011. Thanks to developers – ustwo – for providing a beta copy for this preview.

As usual, click the picture to view the full resolution screen image. This one is from my iPad

It’s an endless flyer type game, with simple “tap to rise / release to fall” controls, plus a rather novel “hold to perform a loop-the-loop” special move. It shares similarities with games like Dino Rush and Chop Chop Kicker, as it involves constantly collecting streams of items (in this case, bubbles) in order to maintain a full tank of fuel/health. Collisions and the passage of time reduce Willow the Whale’s health.

In this screen from my 4th gen iPod Touch, Willow the Whale (who can fly) is collecting bubbles and approaching some kind of power-up. Meanwhile, a large fat pink thing is wobbling about in the background. This is why I love videogames

Here’s the official description of the game from the press release, just in case you think I’m making this stuff up.

“Keep Willow the Whale flying high in the sky for as long as possible in this magical endless runner. Help Willow collect floating Blubbles to feed his rainbow coloured trail, dodging the angry Thunder Bros and avoiding the clutches of evil Baron Von Barry.    

Use simple one finger touch screen controls to fly Willow through the colourful, magical kingdoms of Rainbow Land. In each kingdom lives a friendly Way out Friend that helps Willow on his way by feeding him Blubbles.

Loop the loop, collect Blubbles, smash enemies, discover new lands and make friends along the way.”

From that, you can see that Willow (a whale) is actually collecting Blubbles, not bubbles. I assume this is because Blubbles sounds a bit like blubber. Ah, clever! See, and they say you can’t learn anything from videogames.

At regular intervals, I'm assuming it's at the end of each themed background zone, a specifically coloured boss thing appears and starts drooling out a stream of bubbles. If you manage to collect all of them, you get an achievement (one per coloured boss)

As this isn’t a review, I won’t offer much of an opinion as it will spoil the fun when I eventually review the game. Here’s a clue: it isn’t a pile of crap.

I love this screenshot because the cloud I'm crashing into is bursting into a shape that resembles Elvis

In the above screenshot, I have picked up enough power-ups (or something, I wasn’t really paying much attention) to enter Frenzy mode, which means the evil clouds can be rammed and destroyed. Very satisfying – the collisions and cloud-bursting are nicely animated.

Here’s the official features list and a video, at which point I think I’ve written enough. Make sure you look out for this on 20th October. If I can get hold of a promo code I’ll aim for a release day review.

• Simple and intuitive one finger flight control
• Amazing Whale Trail soundtrack by Gruff Rhys of the ‘Super Furry Animals’ 
• Beautiful and colourful endless runner
• 7 end of level Way our Friends
• 7 incredible rainbow kingdoms to explore
• Frenzy mode – kill Thunder Bros at your will
• Multiplier scores for the best players
• Multiple leaderboards
• Incredible power boosters
• 23 unlockable achievements 
• Amazing Retina graphics
• Game Center integration
• Bonus levels coming soon


One comment

  1. Yay, it comes out on my birthday! Can’t wait.

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