You wouldn’t think that a rolling ball could climb stairs, squeeze through tiny openings, or push blockades out of the way. That’s probably because you haven’t seen the rolling ball that stars in the new iOS game iO. In iO, you need to use the special abilities of your ball to make it to the exit as quickly as possible. There are underlying physics to the ball’s abilities as you need to use size, weight, and mass with the proper trajectory, forces, and speed to contend with over 150 puzzles. If that wasn’t enough, you will also come across portals, inverted gravity, vehicles, and other special environmental challenges.
There’s a lot of variety in iO with each level presenting a new challenge to contend with. The highlight of the game is the ability to shrink and grow your ball as it’s rolling around. Many of the levels will require you to roll in one direction while either shrinking or growing to either fit through a tight squeeze, increase momentum, or push something. Each varying size has its own pros and cons that you need to use to take advantage of what’s included in a given level. None of the levels are particularly long, and instead the challenge comes in time limits for either gold, silver, or bronze. The gold times can seem impossible at times, and that does give a little extra incentive to replay the relatively short levels.
The highlight of iO is that there is a constant supply of new concepts to come across. It’s also quite amazing how you use many concepts of physics without even realizing. The number of levels more than makes up the length of the levels, and it’s actually better to have a wide variety of short levels, than repetitive long levels. The game is definitely on the challenging side as well in those brief levels. There will be numerous occasions where you need to shrink, or grow at just the right moment of flying through a portal, or riding on a wheel composed vehicle to make it to the finish. One problem is that the timing required can be a bit frustrating at times. Also, the game is more puzzle than anything else, and the time limits can be annoying too. The size changing mechanic is a welcome unique addition to the platformer genre, and it is really what makes iO stand out as well as have staying power on your device.
iO ($2.99, Universal) is a finely crafted platformer challenge that keeps things fresh making it well worth picking up.