So much for “finders, keepers.” No sooner did Teeny Green (Out Now, $0.99) dig up a gold star than some evil blobs made away with it. To make matters more challenging, that gold star multiplied into about 70 and now Teeny Green will have to fight its way through the thieves to get them all back.
When I first saw the preview trailer I thought Green might be in a race with its foes for each level’s yellow star. Turns out things are deliciously more sinister than that, cute appearances aside: enemy blobs are cool and efficient hunter-killers, out for the player character’s jelly hide far more than they are the pointy gold trinkets. Not to mention, each enemy gets two moves for every player hop on Teeny’s puzzle board — make that three if the enemies collide and combine into one super jelly!
Obviously it’s going to take some serious wits to overcome the disadvantage, and thankfully Teeny serves up tools aplenty. Walls, springboards, conveyor belts, teleporters, electrocution devices, and more must be used to trap, destroy or delay the enemy jellies before the player has a clear shot at the level goal. It’s a solid logic puzzle formula and the player’s competition with ruthless enemy AI adds something fresh to the genre. We could definitely use more like this one on iOS!
Teeny lets the player freely skip through any level sets that are unlocked, but on the other hand, new sets are accessed only after meeting star collection goals. With the game’s solutions requiring some serious out-of-the-box thinking and experimentation, Teeny’s difficulty would have been just right had things been left there. For better or worse Teeny goes further: not only do you have to figure out how to use all the gizmos to block your enemies, you have to solve a level in a certain number of turns if you want your solution to count toward your star collection goal. The solutions are so tight as it is, the extra challenge is something of a straw that breaks the camel’s back as far as accessibility is concerned. If you’re going to have much luck whittling the solutions down to acceptable move numbers you’d better have training in algorithms or at least a long-running fascination with the genre. It would help if the player knew what the goal is at the start of each level rather than finding out at the end, and it would help even more if there were some counter to remind you how many moves remain.
Teeny’s cutesy aesthetic and one-screen environments are par for the course when it comes to the genre and price range. With dozens upon dozens of levels heaped into the game, it’s too bad there’s only a single in-game music track. You might want to bring an iTunes playlist to this one; so much the better if the tracks are high octane, because Teeny has its fair share of harrowing close calls.
iFanzine Verdict: A diehard logic puzzle fan’s dream, Teeny Green adds something to the genre with its palpable and unyielding suspense. Casual gamers be warned, however — the game’s winning conditions are so demanding that some serious mental algorithm crunching or note-taking aid will be needed if you want to make it much further than the first level set.