They Need to be Fed 3 is an awesome gravitational 360-degree platformer
Sometimes it feels like every new platform game gets described as a “platformer with a difference” by both reviewers and developers. But They Need to be Fed might actually be the one (or three) game(s) that wouldn’t get in trouble with trading standards if someone was ever to bring a case against mis-marketed arcade iPhone games.
It’s probably the unique style of gameplay that it possess that has allowed the franchise to reach the trilogy mark in just four short years. But while other games get lambasted for playing it safe, or regurgitating the same game over again, can the latest addition of the 360-degree platformer avoid this judgement?
And the answer is, pretty much – yes. Design-wise, the game hasn’t changed much from its first and second editions, but in terms of playability and extras, BitAteBit has steadily added extra modes and gimmicks to keep the returning player interested. Not to mention the increased difficulty, which will appeal to long term fans that don’t want to spend their first few levels going through the motions in order to ease in new players. TNTBF3 is unforgiving and is all the better for it.
Back to the beginning; the game follows the same concept as its predecessors. You take control of your little character, which has to make its way across several stages in seven worlds. To do this it must jump, run, collect diamonds and keys, as you move between different circular, rectangular, or square objects; some rotating, some covered in spikes, and some surrounded by pesky little critters just waiting to evaporate you. What gives TNTBF3 its 360-degree gameplay is the gravitational pull that each object has. When you jump from an object you’ll land on another if you enter its gravitational field, if not, you’ll end up back on the one you just jumped from. Of course, this means there’s nothing to fall off. But don’t let that fool you – you’ll still die thanks to the various enemies you face.
Fail fast, fail often
In fact, the game really does adhere to the old Silicon Valley mantra ‘Fail fast, fail often’. There is almost no lag between dying, and regenerating to start again, and lives are limitless. It’s via this mentality that you will reach the solution you need to get to the end of the level. The rotating controls take a lot of getting used too, but through constant regeneration, you’ll quickly find the patterns to get you through quickly rather than slowing down and taking stock
To complete the levels, you have to make it to the other side where your character has to run up the neck of a mysterious Little Shop of Horrors style plant, which promptly eats your little guy.
Then, onto the next level, where difficulty is ramped up once again. From simple flying monsters that don’t really bother you unless you get in their way, your enemies get steadily worse and eventually disappear into the various objects, but reappear as you land on their surface, inevitably reappearing right in the place you’re about to land.
As you progress you need to collect diamonds, and keys, to unlock further worlds. If you collect everything you unlock the ‘epic’ mode, which eschews any kind of checkpoint system, making the difficulty level sky-rocket. It’ll take the most dedicated of players to complete that mode.
There’s also now an Adventure mode, which provides a non-linear story, complete with map, which you follow. There isn’t too much of a story going on here, however, and while it’s good to see developers adding to a franchise in this way when it’s not expected by the user – hopefully we’ll see some further development of this as the franchise continues.
Price: $1.99 / £1.49
Size: 29.5 MB
Developer: Jesse Venbrux / BitAteBit
Platform: iOS Universal