Mark White’s recently released Tasty Tadpoles (out now, $0.99) is the tale of one baby frog on the lam for his life, although – rather awkwardly – what he primarily seems to be fleeing from are his other siblings. The bulk of what would like to chow down on the plucky tadpole are not things such as other fish, but – in a bizarre cannibalistic twist – are instead still other tadpoles with an appetite for fratricide. The end result is an extremely simple to control puzzle game that doesn’t exactly do much to bring anything actually new to the iOS platform, other than – perhaps – the aforementioned extreme levels of sibling rivalry.
The controls of an iOS game almost couldn’t possibly be simpler than they are in Tasty Tadpoles, unless your name happens to be Relic Rush (our review), since all you have to do is tap where you want to go and your little character will immediately swim there. There is a rubber-banding mechanic to be found in the title’s swim controls such that your little tadpole will rush off more quickly to destinations that are further away from your present location. While there a few levels featuring various gimmicks that can also be interacted with via tapping on them, such as turtles that temporarily go into hiding when you touch their shells, for the most part this covers the entirety of Tasty Tadpole’s controls.
While one could simply swim immediately to each level’s exit, to truly master a stage you will first have to collect its three collectible stars – which appear one at a time as you obtain them – in order to unlock later mission sets. Complicating the matter of acquiring these stars is that various aggressive tadpoles – all with a hankering for chowing down on their younger sibling – litter the various stages, some of them freely chasing our hero while others follow a fixed pattern. Select stages will also feature gimmicks such as whirlpools that teleport you across the pond playing field, rotating logs that can be spun by ramming into them, murky waters that obscure where enemies and/or stars lie in wait, and various other things to keep things different as time goes on.
The problem with all of this is that the end result is still very simplistic, and rather unengaging to play through – even if you make an effort to capture all three stars for each stage – such that the game quickly becomes more of a bore than anything else. Tasty Tadpoles – in an attempt to combat this somewhat – does have an optional puzzle mode, wherein you are limited in the number of times you can tap the screen during each stage. While it is nice that Tasty Tadpoles is available for a very low price – and contains no IAPs either – there’s just so many more interesting games available on the iOS market already, although you could certainly do far worse than this title as well.
iFanzine Verdict: Tasty Tadpoles is a competently built iOS game – with a simple to use control scheme that functions without fault – but in the long run doesn’t bring enough new, or unique, to the table to come off as little more than bland.