- Luscious visuals; settings for all iDevices up to and including special settings for iPad 2 users.
- Tight touch-based controls; tilt controls available, but pale in comparison.
- Extremely challenging level designs; multiple difficulty settings for casual to hardcore audiences.
- Frustrating progress-wiping bug; all content lost after restarting the iDevice.
- Tilt calibration a bit awkward; can take a couple attempts to feel comfortable.
Easy to pick up gameplay; luscious visuals; and a challenge that scales from casual to serious gamer levels makes Gears the perfect time-waster for your iDevice.
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From classics such as Marble Madness to modern titans like Super Monkey Ball, rolling a ball around a perilous maze isn't likely to leave us any time soon, especially when Labyrinth-style games fit so well with the iDevice's tilt-based control system. Gears by Crescent Moon Games combines visual excellence with some devious level designs, however it's the lack of emphasis on the tilt-controls that makes this a truly enjoyable gaming experience.
While players can turn on tilt-controls, the default setup of touching and swiping the screen is far more suited to the task of balancing along the perilous platforms that make up most of the later stages of Gears. Touching the screen will steady your orb in place, however making a gentle gesture in any direction will move the ball in a likewise manner and larger swipes will accelerate the ball at such a speed that it can defy physics for a moment or two, allowing players to attempt some rather crazy maneuvers. This kind of finesse is incredibly important on the higher difficulty levels as you attempt to complete the levels within a limited space of time. Points are awarded for collecting gears, which are scattered around the level in various dangerous locations and for completing other objectives such as completing the level quickly and blowing up red crates.
More than anything else, the basic storyline provides the setup for the rich visuals of Gears, with the steam-punk inspired clockwork designs dominating the landscape. Visual settings are available to make the game playable on all iDevices, however the highest level makes fourth-gen devices choke a little, making it far more suited to those who own an iPad 2.
Depending on the level of difficulty you set for yourself, Gears can take as long as a solid afternoon or more to complete, though players after high-scores will find some replay value in conquering the higher difficulty levels where the big bonus points are awarded. For a game with roots in moving a marble around a wooden box maze, Gears does a great job of pairing challenging platforming with solid controls and a beautiful environment; a perfect pick up for those after something new to fill their spare time.