Bitter Sam is…well, I’m not sure what he is, but he does look rather bitter. Who can blame him, having endured bad grades in school, a mother that was a bit distant, and getting jilted at the altar? It’s enough to make anyone a bit disenchanted. On top of all that, Sam gets kidnapped and lowered down a tunnel to fetch gems for a less than scrupulous scientist.
What is it?
Fortunately for you, all you need to do is tilt your iDevice to keep poor Sam swinging away from the hazards as he descends. The general look of the game is a bit like a cartoon (Dexter’s Laboratory, maybe?) but the miserable look on Sam’s face does almost make you feel sorry for him.
How does it work?
This is a simple games to play/control; just tilt left or right. The accelerometer will register the orientation of the device and will use some simple physics to swing Sam around. On the way down, you may have access to some power ups like a pig (yes, the barnyard roaming, mess making, bacon producing kind), a bundle of blue rope which will prevent your rope from being cut on the hazards, and some syringes.
By the way, if you see a pig, grab it; the pig can be used as a shield against the pointy hazards. The syringes will make the pig stronger, and if you collect three syringes for your, pig he becomes invincible.
Later in the game you may be offered an anvil. Go ahead, it’s not going to give you the Wile E. Coyote treatment; it will act as a shield and speed up your descent. Do try to collect the blue gems, as you go as you will need an increasing number of these to unlock each successive level. You may need to play a level more than once to learn where the gems are located and the best strategy to get them (some require the pig to break a hazard).
Just because the gameplay is simple, though, doesn’t mean it’s easy. There are plenty of pointy hazards that can kill you if you land on them and some that can either kill you or cut your rope, plummeting Sam to his doom.
Is it contagious?
Bitter Sam is actually a fun game despite the simplicity of play. Since the game uses some real physics (do you remember the “period of a pendulum” lesson?) you need to be judicious with how much you tip your iDevice. Even when Sam “dies” on the hazards, it’s not a gore fest, so it isn’t bad for the younger players (Sam’s spirit leaves his body, sprouts wings and flies away).
There are currently five environments (Lab, Soil, Stone, etc), each with twenty levels. This provides plenty of gameplay with enough of a challenge to stay interesting.