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App review: Hands on with iOS Hedgehogers

Hedgehogers may not look like anything special, but it has still got plenty of character. The mechanics make it a genuinely addicting and rewarding experience for anyone willing to pay $5.99 (coming iPhone, iPod, and iPad later this month). 

Hedgehogers is another physics based puzzle game a bit like Angry Birds or Crush the Castle, but it’s also a bit like a vertical pinball where you only have one chance at launching your ball (or in this case, your Hedgehoger). It contains a total of 108 levels to complete spread across the four seasons--Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter--in ascending level of difficulty. Each new season adds a new type of Hedgehoger who touts a special ability. 

The game itself is nothing fancy--it lacks flare and it will feel very familiar to anybody who has played the games mentioned above, or the host of games like them. Furthermore, the kitschy, homemade, aesthetic might be visually bothersome, even though the writing and humor supports this bare-bones look. It does get visually boring to be staring at the same, flat obstacles (hedges, wood planks and stone walls) that stand between your cannon and Fintan (the owl antagonist of the game).

Despite the lack of visual interest, the mechanics are very good--the cannon control feels tight, and responsive to the very slightest finger adjustment without approximation. In fact, many of the levels rely on this--getting your Hedgehoger shot lined up just right to grab the three red balloons. Moving balloons present an interesting challenge sometimes, and the interplay between different balloon color and Hedgehoger abilities creates surprisingly diverse effects. Within these parameters, the pursuit of the perfect shot is what makes this game particularly addicting and challenging--though not discouraging. 

Like many console and mobile games throughout time, there are two types of game completion layered into Hedgehogers. Casual players can strive toward simply finishing levels--knocking Fintan off his perch--but more obsessive players (like myself) can race against the clock to grab the red balloons and achieve a “Golden Hedgehogers” badge upon level completion. These badges require precision, timing, speed, and even in certain levels, patience. There isn’t nearly as much to getting the “Silver Hedgehogers” badge--it can be achieved on all of a season’s levels in just around an hour of play time (that’s a total of about four hours play-time for all seasons--not a lot for the price point--but at least there are no ads). Its also fun to collect the sarcastic achievements in the Game Center which celebrate how many times you’ve failed. 

All in all, it’s not particularly revolutionary or fancy, but Hedgehogers certainly has an attitude to go with its strong mechanics. If you'd like to play the game for yourself, you can do so by clicking here

Verdict: 6.5 out 10

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