Game

This fun and funny adventure is like a cross between Half-Life & Despicable Me

Price: $2.99 / £2.29
Version: 1.0
Size: 637 MB
Developer: Noodlecake
Platform: iPhone & iPad

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Island Delta is a great concept; mostly realized. The narrative’s simple, but retains bags of personality throughout 30 levels. But boy, if it isn’t frustrating.

At its heart, this is an adventure game. But don’t let the screenshots fool you into thinking it’s just shooting and high-octane action. Island Delta is all about puzzles and sabotage. Oh, and fiddling with your anti-gravity gun as you cross a retro-futuristic animated world. The premise revolves around Zoe and Baxter, who set out to rescue their robot friend from evil Doctor Gunderson. Along the way you have to find ways into his facility, and past his guards. The action switches between the two heroes between levels.

Use the anti-grav gun to pick up enemies and objects

Use the anti-grav gun to pick up enemies and objects

The game is actually far from complex. The anti-grav gun is your only weapon and the challenge is to use it in various ways to complete the puzzles by picking up and placing objects.

Island Delta is a big game. The thirty levels aren’t slight. But we also need to address how buggy it is. The game crashes far too often, forcing a reboot and losing progress. Elsewhere, we’d sometimes fall inexplicably into areas of the levels we shouldn’t be in. Suddenly you’re walking around, then you’re in a big metal barrel that you thought was just part of the scenery. Very odd.

How did we get in here? We're not supposed to be in here! The game gets pretty glitchy at points

How did we get in here? We’re not supposed to be in here! The game gets pretty glitchy at points

But that can sometimes be par for the course with physics-based games. And Island Delta’s puzzle approach makes it ultra-fiddly. We played it on the iPhone and found we had to keep switching out the way we held it. Holding it like a traditional gamepad wasn’t comfortable when running as our thumb would often need to be on the opposite side of the screen and we couldn’t stretch it. Plenty of games on iOS are better on iPad, but we imagine this one could be a nightmare.

There's a serious puzzle element in here, which can get tricksy. Here, we had to stack metal crates on a moving conveyor so we could get on the ledge

There’s a serious puzzle element in here, which can get tricksy. Here, we had to stack metal crates on a moving conveyor so we could get on the ledge

This brings us to another point. We’re all for a challenge, but one of the most infuriating elements of Delta Island is how the combat and the puzzles are all mixed together. It’s like some kind of volatile soup of physical and mental exhaustion. The thing about physics games is that it’s hard to place objects correctly all the time. And when a series of respawning robots and proximity guns are constantly firing at you at the same time? Well, it’s all a bit much.

There are a number of great cut scenes and beautifully rendered animated stills throughout

There are a number of great cut scenes and beautifully rendered animated stills throughout

We’re not saying the answer is to separate them completely – it’d be too easy. But there has to be a solution because too often the frustration made us want to just give up. Perhaps give the characters a little more life juice? It only takes about four hits before they collapse. Double it and the game would be a far more pleasant experience.

Each level contains dialogue between the two main characters, and other characters, such as the evil Dr. Gunderson

Each level contains dialogue between the two main characters, and other characters, such as the evil Dr. Gunderson

Having said that, we still enjoyed the game. Character personality, the sassy robot hostage, plus hilariously inept bad guys make it worthwhile. Another major positive is how much you can interact with with your gravity gun. Chairs, cabinets, robots, even giant henchmen. When we found we could block attacks by shooting a metal barrier and holding it in front of us, we were overjoyed.

Delta Island has a lot of problems. But it doesn’t mean you won’t find enjoyment there.

Review: Island Delta – get to grips with anti-gravity guns in physics-based puzzle & action game
It looks great, is silly in places, exhilarating in others, but it's let down by its glitchiness.
For
  • Great animation
  • Good characters & dialogue
  • Plenty of big levels
Against
  • It's glitchy
  • The combination of combat & puzzles is often tedious rather than challenging
3.8Overall Score