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Treemaker Review

By , on August 29, 2011


Treemaker
Download on the AppStore
3 out of 5

PROS

  • Easy to pick-up controls; tap to shoot/release rope and swipe to swing.
  • Silky smooth 3D graphics with an interesting organic motif.

CONS

  • Floaty physics and bouncy rope makes it hard to stay in control; something that's pivotal to the gameplay.

VERDICT

Treemaker tries to revive a style of game that has lost its popularity of late, but instead it only manages to add itself to the pile of half-formed games that also failed in this quest.


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I often wonder where all the ninja-rope swinging titles that had once captured the mobile gaming consciousness not so long ago disappeared to and then Treemaker by Mikrotie comes along to remind me.

Rope swinging lives and dies upon the player's ability to predict where they're going at all times, giving them a level of finesse and control that borders on almost prescient in games like Hook Champ. Instead of predictability, Treemaker makes its swinging mechanic the largest 'challenge' to overcome as you deal with floaty physics that make it hard to predict where you're going and a rubbery rope that's hard to predict as you bounce and wobble on the line after each jump.

Ultimately your aim on each level is to touch every seed in the level while using the least amount of 'vines' as possible to get there. This requires very precise jumping, made all the harder by only being able to see a limited amount of the level (even if you zoom out) with tiny platforms or gaps to shoot for to survive. Should you touch a colored portion of the map you'll also explode, though some barriers can be destroyed if you have enough momentum (though this is never explicitly taught to players).

Stars are awarded depending on how many vines are used, though the cutoffs are never explicitly stated making it hard to want to come back and attempt a three-star run as merely completing some levels with two stars (which is required to progress to the new set of stages) is often hard enough.

A recent update fixed some performance issues with the iPhone 4 and if nothing else it should be said that the presentation of Treemaker is quite lovely and the 3D world rarely if ever drops from anything but a silky-smooth frame-rate.

Still, it's hard to enjoy a game in which you're consistently fighting the controls for some semblance of stability, making any level completion one of satisfaction of having won despite the flaws instead of on the part of any skill of the player. As such it's hard to recommend Treemaker unless you love your rope-swinging titles.

Screenshots

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