The App Store and Android Marketplace aren't just places to buy major hits from veteran developers. They're also the perfect start for newcomers who want to cut their teeth on indie game development and get their wares into the public domain; making a little money in the process.
Hello Copter is the product of one such outfit... but it's so polished and pretty that you'd never know. Plus, you'll never look at Twitter in the same way again.
Sarcastic Hedgehog are a two-man outfit at the beginning of what promises to be a glittering career.
Coder Mike Josephs has already brought a interactive graphic novel to the Xbox Live Indie channel - and together with a dedicated artist, the tiny studio has created a thoroughly beautiful endless flying game in only a couple of months of frenzied development. An impressive achievement, and one that only becomes more humbling once you've tried out the game itself.
Hello Copter is a one finger flier, and the concept will be instantly familiar to anyone who regularly plays mobile games. Controlling the titular helicopter by touching the screen to ascend and letting go to decrease altitude, you'll scroll through an infinite level, dodge incoming hazards and swoop low to save some grounded birds for extra points. A few pickups allow you to increase speed or armour yourself, but the core experience is extremely accessible, zen and uncluttered.
Content is a little on the light side. Incoming enemies, while randomised in terms of placement, are the same every time you play - and even an enormous monkey-mouthed horror (no, really, it's that bizarre) can't quite add the unpredictability we've come to crave from the likes of Jetpack Joyride and Tiny Wings.
However, innovative Twitter integration adds much more than a compulsive way of bragging about your score. Linking your twitter account places ten of your followers into the game as the stranded birds, which is a thoroughly addictive and wildly imaginative metagame. Remember to follow @SarcyHedgehog to unlock the hedgehog character!
But what ultimately makes Hello Copter worth a purchase are the visuals. It's gorgeous, pure and simple; a pin-sharp masterpiece that resembles a page from a classic children's book. Adorable art design and a vibrant colour palette set it apart from practically every other game on the service, and it looks just as impressive as any of the weekly offerings from Chillingo, PopCap or Zynga. If not much more so.
- Outstanding visual design
- Solid, familiar and addictive gameplay
- Great Twitter integration
- Light on content
Summary: Hello Copter is an addictive and captivatingly beautiful endless flier. We can't wait to see what Sarcastic Hedgehog have in store for us next.
Developer: Sarcastic Hedgehog
Compatibility: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch and iPad.Requires iOS 4.1 or later.