Greedy Dwarf Review

Have you ever woke up one day and found yourself wanting to control a dwarf attempting to steal treasure from a rather fat looking dragon, all while utterly defying the laws of gravity? Or – failing that – perhaps you have long been beset with a desire to run down tunnels at breakneck speeds, all while engaging in a metric ton of physics defying platform jumping? If the answer to either of these questions happened to be yes – or, better yet, both of them – then Crescent Moon Games has a title worth checking out by the name of Greedy Dwarf (out now, $0.99).

2_greedy_dwarfThe basic premise of Greedy Dwarf is that you have 32 stages to complete, each taking the form of a tube like level littered with nuggets of gold – as well as other power ups – that can be picked up along the way. What makes this game unique is that you don’t really steer the dwarf so much as you rotate the world around him, thus enabling the player to do things such as jumping off one platform and then landing on what was previously the ceiling. While merely surviving each level is usually an easy enough task, truly mastering the game – via successfully collecting every item on each level – quickly becomes a bard worthy challenge.

Rotating the tunnels is handled by sliding a finger either left or right, but this is thankfully tackled such that moving your finger to the right shifts the tunnel in the same direction as if your dwarf had actually himself went to the right. The act of jumping, however, is executed in a somewhat unusual manner: with the player being required to touch the screen with two fingers – or just one during side scrolling segments – in order to execute a leap. For the most part these controls are more than adequate for merely surviving any of the challenges that Greedy Dwarf throws at you, but they will sometimes get in the way of people attempting completionist runs.

greedy_dwarf1-300x225As it currently stands it can often be hard to jump as it’s natural to take off the finger you’re driving with when travelling on a straightway, but jumping only takes place when the screen is hit with two fingers at the same time. Another massive problem surrounds situations where you are expected to rotate the tunnel mid-leap, as the current setup sometimes has a nasty habit of deciding the finger you left on the screen was actually the jump finger. It also doesn’t help that in order to be able to slide your finger all the way across the screen quickly enough, so as to complete certain mid jump rotations, you will need to hold the iDevice in such a way that you can’t really use your other hand to execute jumps with.

While Greedy Dwarf’s iTunes page currently claims that the title features two distinct control schemes, I was – despite my best efforts – entirely unable to find a way to switch over to anything other than the above described method. I don’t know if the wrong version of the game was shipped – or if someone forgot to properly implement a configuration page – but I do hope that an update in the near future makes a secondary control scheme available, especially in light of the aforementioned issues. I myself would personally recommend that Crescent Moon Games implements a control scheme using the slide to rotate feature already present, while adding a dedicated on screen jump button in order to eliminate moments of confusion on the game’s part.

Control issues aside, Greedy Dwarf is still a well made platform jumping game – with appealing 3D graphics – featuring a rather unique twist involving tunnels and relative gravity. The title’s inventive physics are definitely put to a variety of uses, these include moments where players are challenged to deal with their dwarf running on the tunnel’s relative ceiling – without the benefit of the controls being inverted – as well as so much more. Perhaps the most impressive part of Greedy Dwarf is that the game – despite the title’s beautiful 3D visual – is actually rather easy going on your iDevice’s battery, and is therefore capable of being played for far longer than other similar fare.

iFanzine Verdict: Greedy Dwarf is a 3D platforming title – with an occasional side scrolling segment here and there – utilizing a unique jumping mechanic involving relative gravity, that is furthermore easy on your iDevice’s battery life. Unfortunately the game currently has a not quite perfect control scheme that, while certainly adequate for merely surviving the experience, will easily frustrate those attempting to get gold medals on every level. Based on the fact that the title’s iTunes store page already claims there’s actually two distinct control schemes, even though only one can currently be found, it does seem highly likely a fix will be coming in the near future to rectify this matter.