Xbox Live game for Windows Phone: Gerbil Physics review
Barnstormer’s a pretty great name for a video game, but if it you’re imagining lead character Shaun the Sheep as a flying ace performing outrageous MiniSquadron-like acrobatics you’re on the wrong track entirely. The game isn’t quite that interesting, unfortunately.
Rather, it’s a casual platformer comprised of 10 bite-size sprints to the finish. Each stage lasts between 30 and 40 seconds, during which you must tap the screen to make Shaun jump over obstacles. You could say it’s a wooly jumper.
Awful puns aside, you can also collect balloons en route to the finish line, each of which refills your boost bar. Once you have some of this boost banked, you can activate it by holding down the virtual control on the left of the screen.
That’s it, really. There are a couple of nice little gymnastic feats you can pull of, such as a double jump (though we found this a little too erratic to pull off) and a little additional nudge you get when you catch the lip of an object just right. But essentially this is a very straight forward case of getting from A-B ten times.
What we will give Barnstormer credit for is the way it keeps you coming back for repeat plays of these 10 levels. There are medals to aim for and there’s your personal best to try and top. More importantly, though, there’s a weekly world record to beat for every stage. This takes the best time from all Barnstormer players for that week, meaning there’s always something to try and top. It also means that untouchable ninja time is only good for seven days!
Visually, Barnstormer has that daytime kids TV style to it, but it lacks the charm that usually goes hand-in-hand with the W&G universe. It can also be a little tricky to track Shaun’s progress, as background and foreground alike comprise of various shades of brown and green. All suitably bucolic, but not great when the speed really picks up and you run smack into a crate.
Barnstormer is a perfectly serviceable game in pretty much every way, and it’s also relatively good value at 79p on the Windows Phone Marketplace. It just lacks that spark the really sets the good games from the average.
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