Southpeak Interactive has just dropped its first entry into the App Store with Schrodinger's Rat. We've done some previous coverage of the game in the last couple of weeks, and over the past few days I've had the chance to play the game for review. If you're into accelerometer based maze games, you can't go wrong with Schrondinger's Rat, but other than that niche audience, it's hard to outright recommend.
The idea of Schrodinger's Rat is to complete experiments and save as many rats as you can. To do this, player use the accelerometer of the iPhone or iPod Touch to maneuver a chalk ball through a maze. The goal is simple: navigate the ball from the start point to the end in the allotted time. Time is limited by a Geiger counter, which acts as a linear timer that steadily counts down as you're working your chalk ball through the maze. There are a variety of power ups and other objects that can both help and interfere with your progress, including a power up that resets the Geiger counter. There are also maze traps and gateways that add to the difficulty and strategy required to successfully get through. From our earlier exclusive coverage of the game, here is a breakdown of some of the objects you'll encounter:
• Fur Balls – Created by Schrödinger’s devious cat, these quantum fur balls are an imminent danger to your chalk balls. Though technically under your control, fur balls have been imbued with anti-gravity response, making them move in counterintuitive directions.
• Mercury Pools – These patches of liquid mercury can be used to cover your chalk ball, making it invulnerable to fur balls.
• Targets – Aim your chalk ball at the target to reset the R.A.T.’s Geiger counter, granting additional time to finish the maze.
• Chalk Remnants – Left behind pieces of scientists’ formulations, Chalk Remnants grant an extra chalk ball when rolled over.
• Vortex – These curious points of energy cause fur balls to change their polarities and obey the standard rules of gravity.
• Water Drop – Running through a pool of water drastically slows down the speed of the chalk ball, increasing the danger of the Geiger counter maxing out.
• Transportals – Used to instantaneously move your chalk ball between two points, transportals are often essential to overcoming impassible barriers.
• Lead shields – For certain radioactive elements, the only way to proceed with the experiment is to utilize a lead shield. These shields require you to memorize the maze in order to make your way out. Luckily, there is an assortment of quarks that offer varying levels of transparency for the lead shield.
The Geiger counter is your biggest enemy though, as when it expires, the game is over. The timer will run out within a few seconds unless you can get to a reset power up. When the timer expires, the screen fills with a green gas and the retry or quit prompt appears. The delay from failing to complete the maze to being able to restart takes a few seconds, and while that may not seem like much, it definitely adds up -- especially when you're failing on a maze time and time again.
In addition to battling against the timer, you have to contend with the controls, too. It takes a steady hand and a bit of luck to make the sharp turns that are a part of every maze. There are 117 mazes total, and each is available to play from the main menu. Mazes are based off of elements of the periodic table, with higher numbers meaning harder challenges. I found the difficulty to spike up pretty quickly but I also found the sense of satisfaction and reward to be lagging behind. In other words, as the mazes got more difficult, I didn't find myself interested in replaying them because the experience wasn't satisfying and the game just isn't very fun, to be frank. Ultimately that's my biggest problem with Schrodinger's Rat: it isn't very compelling or fun.
To the summary...
If you like navigating mazes with the accelerometer against a timer, Schrödinger's Rat offers that in spades and with a variety of additional gameplay elements to increase the challenge and strategy. Ultimately though, it's not a very satisfying experience.