Jool Review (iOS)
This debut title from Rostlaub has one control, touch to jump. If you want to double jump, touch twice. That’s it. Easy peasy. You play a bird, a bird which apparently has another bird attached to his butt, but we will get to that in a minute.
What I find really interesting is that on the pre-game screen you can actually choose whether you start as blue bird or red (devil) bird just by tapping the appropriate side. I thought it was a great touch that they gave you this option as it doesn’t really matter where you start.
The level has platforms of varying length and heights. It’s endless runner style, so just jump from one platform to the next. Along the way you will collect a whole host of random goodness which will boost your score. Occasionally you might run into a bomb which will explode behind you and throw you a short distance.
The world appears to be split horizontally with one half seemingly belonging to the world of the blue bird and the other half to the devil bird. You can jump around in either half regardless of your current state. Which half is on top depends on which bird you are currently playing, so if you are playing the blue bird the happy blue land is at the top, if you miss a few platforms and fall down a bit you will be in the devil birds environment. It is a good indicator of how close to death you are…speaking of which…
When you fall too far you simply flip your iOS device and start running back the other way as the other bird, with the world also flipped. Of course you can only flip so many times, but at the end your score for both directions is combined. When I say you can only flip so many times I really mean it. Once you have used all your flips you die, but when you start your next game, you start with zero flips. You have to earn more flips. Your trip count continues with each game, but your score obviously starts from zero. To buy more flips, simply (while your bird is on the move) touch your trips at the bottom, you then get the option to buy a flip for 400 trips, or some other powerups for 800 trips each.
This isn’t explained anywhere in the game. I had to figure this out on my own which, in a way suits this game. Since writing this an update to the game has been released which make this feature more obvious. The whole game is a bit strange, a bit trippy. Some of the powerups you can collect aren’t necessarily good things, so if you can take note of what you pick up and the effect that it has.
When you do eventually die you do so in a most spectacular fashion… thirty different ones to be precise. If you pay close enough attention you will notice that you leave a trail of flowers where you have been when you are your blue bird. It’s a nice little touch to the game. Another feature I liked which might not be for everyone was the 5 minute continue window. If you pause the game, you only have 5 minutes to return. I’m assuming this is to prevent people recovering from a long session to continue all revitalised and I like this, a real test of endurance!
Along with shop features to buy more trips and even buy the death movies if you can’t wait to see them all, JOOL supports Facebook,Twitter and Game Centre integration for your high score bragging pleasures. Available for both iPhone and iPad, this will make a devilishly good addition to your device.
9 bird-devils out of 10