Hands On Preview - 'Tiptop: the last march'
I think I've managed to play Lemmings on just about every conceivable mainstream platform available, starting with my copy on the Amiga and working through various iterations on the PC, Genesis, Game Boy, Mobile Phones and on and on and on. I honestly think it's a gaming staple that everyone should try in some shape or form. Why? Well I honestly think there's nothing quite like knowing you have to help a bunch of the poor defenseless creatures left in your charge only to know you'll have to sacrifice at least some to ensure your victory.
Sure they're just pixels, but they're so helpless... and you're so powerful! Clearly it's your fault they didn't survive!
'Tiptop: the last march' is a variant of the Lemmings-style of gameplay for the iPhone, complete with its own control scheme and modern edge. The game's creators at On5 are no strangers to pop-culture thanks to their popular Quizarium and Charadium titles, so it's no surprise that Tiptop takes its spin from recent cultural events.
Personalities are referenced and are used as the 'heroes' that must survive their trip through various environments while they seek the truth of 'what's going on?'. There are plenty of tongue in cheek moments, but they're not easy to spot as you'll be kept occupied full-time looking after your miniature clones.
Ink is drawn on to the stages to provide platforms, walkways or even barriers to protect, guide and shepherd your 'heroes' on their journey. While the iPhone provides excellent fidelity for drawing on the screen, it's easy to under or over shoot the mark when creating pathways. As always, practice makes perfect, but there's always a bit of faith required when drawing unless your flesh is perfectly transparent.
The puzzles are challenging and while multi-touch features are used only to move the screen the game feels at home on the iPhone. Much like Lemmings, you'll find yourself repeating some levels just to get that perfect score, but as you progress onwards it becomes harder to justify saving the (up to) dozens of characters wandering around.
Tiptop is certainly a clever and even humorous game to enjoy. The combination of simple controls with diabolical level design means this is likely to appeal to casual gamers as much as the hardcore of you out there. Anthony Almanza from On5 has hinted that this could even potentially become a series of games, but for now Tiptop is planned for a release soon during April.
Youtube Exclusive Hands-on Preview: