Indie Workshop #4 (Mobile Device Edition): Jelly Jiggle Review

Welcome to the fourth installment of Indie Workshopwhere I take a look at some of the games of aspiring Indie developers and give them a honest review while also attempting to give them a little exposure.

I truly encourage you all to get involved with the Indie games featured here and check out the developers – they work long and hard to bring you what potentially may be the next generation of video games, so its worth your time supporting them!

This is the first time I’ve ever reviewed a tablet/mobile device game so as always, your feedback is really appreciated!

Wobble on the Wild Side – A Jelly Jiggle Review

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“Ah, another endless runner on the market… Yet another civilization-type game? How many more games are they going to slap that character’s face on? Just another day at the office of video game apps. Your typical soft vanilla games for your mother, father and grandparents to play in their spare time… But what’s this? Jelly Jiggle? What on earth… Oh my.”

Those of you who regularly follow my Twitter feed know that I very rarely go near tablet gaming, and there’s good reason for that – with the occasional rare exception, almost every game you can find on your preferred mobile gaming device is catered to what I like to call the “family” market – games that offer a mild challenge for those who do not normally indulge in gaming, while providing a primordial experience for anyone that’s ever held a controller for more than 10 minutes. With that in mind, then, I was dubious as to whether I should give Hanger18’s Jelly Jiggle a chance, with the fear that it might just be another plushy game that wraps you in cotton wool for its 2-3 hour duration.

To quote a popular internet meme: “never have I been more wrong.”

Jelly Jiggle is a 3D puzzle game created by developers Hanger18. In Jelly Jiggle, players assume the role of Jay Jello, whom they guide through a series of levels moving other cubes of jelly onto specific platforms. The premise sounds simple enough, but as the number of jellies you need to transport increases and the obstacles in your way multiply, the difficulty sky-rockets. Hanger18 describes Jelly Jiggle as a way to get your “old grey cells moving” – mine moved so fast playing this game, they nearly spontaneously combusted.

As you progress through Jelly Jiggle, a variety of storyboards explain how your different consumables interact with the environment, and how you move Jay throughout. The game uses an on-screen directional pad and the controls are extremely fluid for a tablet game – particularly one that is Indie. You swiftly learn that your consumables – which consist of bombs to destroy obstacles and teleporters to instantly move a jelly to its required location – are extremely limited, and as such very valuable. More than once during my play-through, I was confronted with the difficult choice of whether to tackle a puzzle head on, or use a consumable to make it that much easier to conquer.

There is one respite in the form of environmental collectibles – certain objects light up and, when bumped by Jay, will relinquish consumables such as teleporters, or coins which can be used to purchase consumables and, with enough, extra worlds.

Consumables can be used to make levels considerably easier.

Consumables can be used to make levels considerably easier.

Let us not pretend, though, that Jelly Jiggle’s concept is anything groundbreaking or new – games involving the “move x block to y location” puzzle have been around for years, and some franchises such as Legend of Zelda incorporate it in almost every single one of its titles – but Jelly Jiggle is certainly one of the most refined examples currently on the market. The colour palette is absolutely stunning, and the soundtrack is silky and simplistic and compliments the game beautifully.

On top of this, Jelly Jiggle takes some of the better features from aforementioned “soft” games and makes them its own. For example, each level has 3 stars to collect that require you to complete the level under specific conditions. These stars are entirely optional, but add a layer of re-playability which gives Jelly Jiggle that extra pinch of value for its money. For those people who are completionists like myself, Jelly Jiggle still gives you plenty to do after you’ve defeated a level for the first time.

The full game features 3 different worlds, and each one of them is beautifully designed.

The full game features 3 different worlds, and each one of them is beautifully designed and unique.

At this point, I’d love to be able to call it quits on this review and tell you that Jelly Jiggle is a game that is completely without fault – and for the majority of you, it probably is. At its core, there is absolutely nothing wrong with Jelly Jiggle. It is a gorgeous puzzle game that will keep you entertained for hours on end. One caveat however – this is not an easy puzzle game.

Don’t get me wrong – I hate easy games, and I love it when games provide a challenge, within reason. I played Jelly Jiggle to level 11 of the first world, even though I had access to all three worlds. The reason for this was because I was unable to actually progress any further due to the fact the difficulty tends to peak once you’re past the tutorials. Maybe its just because I suck at this sort of puzzle game, and Jelly Jiggle made a mockery of me, but I really feel as though there’s this vast jump in difficulty that may put some people off. As an example, I spent nearly 20 minutes trying to solve level 7, and actually had to ask the developer if it was possible without bombs and teleporters, because the solution is so niche I probably never would’ve thought of it if I hadn’t chipped away at it for so long.

The game becomes fiendishly difficult - but is that a bad thing?

The game becomes fiendishly difficult – but I’m not sure that’s a bad thing.

I get the feeling that, for this reason, Jelly Jiggle in its current state will appeal to a specific group of people and will without doubt divide opinions. Despite its cute exterior, Jelly Jiggle could potentially become a game for sadists – some levels are blindingly hard and the longer you play, the more it starts to feel like you’re just throwing things at a wall to see what sticks – but of course that is my opinion. For those hardcore gamers out there who love a challenge, you’ll find none better than the puzzler that is Jelly Jiggle; it will rise to meet you time and time again. For those who enjoy a nice, relaxing puzzle however – you may not find much for you here.

In conclusion, I don’t wish to give Jelly Jiggle a hard time for being difficult, because at the start of this article I complained that too many games on the tablet market are targeted at casual gamers, but I feel its important to state that its difficulty may not appeal to everyone.

Ask yourself this; have you ever been in a situation where a particular puzzle or challenge has stumped you for minutes, hours – even days – but you refuse to give up out of stubborn disregard for how complicated the task may be, because you know eventually you’ll crack it? If so, you may just enjoy Jelly Jiggle – because it will become the biggest nightmare of a puzzle game you’ll ever play – but in absolutely the most beautiful way possible.

Title of Indie Game: Jelly Jiggle.
Most appealing quality?: The stunning colour palette. I haven’t seen such a beautiful tablet game in a very long time.
Most disappointing quality?: Very little disappoints in Jelly Jiggle. I only wish there was a little more back-story included.
How much did I play?: I played up to level 11 on the first world, but will no doubt return to try and defeat the game in its entirety.
How much does it cost?: Jelly Jiggle is currently available as a free demo on iOS and Android which includes 18 free-to-play levels. Alternatively, you can pick up the full PRO version on iOS (£0.64/$0.99) or Android (£2.34/$3.62) which includes an additional 32 levels.
Where can I find it?: Information about Jelly Jiggle can be found at the developer’s website.

Jelly Jiggle is a 3D puzzle game created by Hanger18, available now on iOS and Android. You can follow Hanger18’s progress with Jelly Jiggle via Twitter.

All reviewing content, including images, is used with consent of the developer. A massive thank you to Hanger18 for providing me with a review copy of Jelly Jiggle.

Thanks for reading this post! If you enjoyed it, remember you can bookmark this blog or follow me direct from a WordPress account. Alternatively, you can follow me on Twitter here for updates.

If you have any comments, post them below or get in touch with me via Twitter.

Indie Workshop #3: Accelerated Delivery

Welcome to the third installment of Indie Workshopwhere I take a look at some of the games of aspiring Indie developers and give them a honest review while also attempting to give them a little exposure.

I truly encourage you all to get involved with the Indie games featured here and check out the developers – they work long and hard to bring you what potentially may be the next generation of video games, so its worth your time supporting them!

This game review is an exclusive, and has never been reviewed before. I hope you enjoy!

Top Secret Packages – An Accelerated Delivery Review

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When I was approached about the possibility of reviewing a game about boxes and their movement from one area to another, I couldn’t help but wonder if the entire concept was perhaps a little simple – how on earth was I going to create a fully fledged Indie Workshop review based upon a game who’s solitary objective is “move X amount of boxes from point A to point B”? Any normal game would have proved me right and I’d be sitting here right now telling you a very different story to the one I’m about to tell – but I didn’t play the “moving box simulator”. I played Accelerated Delivery.

Accelerated Delivery is a 3D puzzle game developed by Indie game group Two Button Crew. Originally created by Jonathan Fischer under the moniker Core43, “Box Factory” (as it was then affectionately known) became a group project when Two Button Crew combined forces with Jon and programmer Alex Van Liew to forge the Two Button Crew that has put out Accelerated Delivery in its completed form today. Although their story is a long and sometimes complicated one, Accelerated Delivery’s base concept has always been the same – control machinery in the environment to move boxes to an end-zone and complete the level. Lose too many boxes to the hazards below and you fail, starting the level over anew. Its a lovely little concept that is deceivingly difficult at its core.

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Accelerated Delivery offers a basic tutorial for beginners, and optional controller support for those more accustomed to gaming with a third-party controller.

The game starts with a very basic tutorial option and helps players to find their feet before the game begins proper. One thing Accelerated Delivery does very well is guide you through its opening levels without holding your hand – it teaches you the ropes, but there’s still room for failure. Its the best kind of learning curve that doesn’t rely on tutorial menus opening every 20 seconds and interrupting fluent and constant game-play.

As the controller of the machinery around you, you must activate specific sections throughout in order to guide the boxes to their eventual destination. This starts out relatively easy, with the use of only one or two buttons to guide a singular box to its inevitable end, but before you know it, you’re dealing with 7-8 buttons at a time, multiple boxes of different colours that need to be delivered to different locations, and even boxes that explode and must actually be disposed of in order to gain points. Its fast and frantic, but never verges too close to pandemonium that you feel like you’ve lost control. Additionally, each level features its own score tracking system which adds a level of re-playability and competitiveness to the affair – meaning you may find yourself using the game’s level select functionality to try and best your friend’s best runs and outdo each other more often than you’d care to admit.

"Good, but could I do better?" is the thinking that drives Accelerated Delivery's re-playability.

“Good, but could I do better?” is the thinking that drives Accelerated Delivery’s re-playability.

Rather than the aforementioned intrusive tutorial messages popping up throughout, Accelerated Delivery features a “guide” of sorts in the form of your voice-acted boss. He’s frequently dismissive of your abilities as a machinery operator, sarcastic and humorous in his approach. He narrates the story and provides guidance in the most convoluted manner possible, and whether you’ll appreciate the voice acting depends entirely upon your sense of humor. The game plays just as well without it as it does with it, and the developers have provided an option via the pause menu to remove the voice acting if for some reason you decide it isn’t really your thing.

On that note, the audio and visuals in Accelerated Delivery are something to marvel at. The soundtrack suits the game down to the ground and really helps to add to the overall feeling that if you lose a box, its going to have consequences somewhere down the line. The visuals meanwhile, are incredibly aesthetically pleasing and rarely do they detract from the objective at hand – they’re something beautiful to look at, but they’re not so distracting that you find your eyes hurting while you play, or an inability to focus on what you’re meant to be doing. Kudos to the art guys for their excellent work in Blender, because some of the hazards such as the lava look practically alive and dancing, and that really is some kind of accomplishment.

The environments really are captivating.

The environments really are captivating.

Game-play itself is fluid and the mechanics work exactly as you’d expect them to. In particular, I was very impressed by the box physics – drop them from a significant height and they’ll bounce, threatening to be lost in the void below before settling down and putting that particular mini-heart attack to rest. Get hit by a particular piece of machinery at a funny angle, or get caught between two walls because of your bad timing, and the box threatens to wind up being flung back a few steps – adding more precious seconds to your ever-increasing time. Very rarely have I ever felt such deep concern for an inanimate object as I did with Accelerated Delivery’s cardboard boxes – but because of the way their physics function, you’re constantly left with the feeling that these boxes really are delicate and subject to a swift reckoning if you’re not careful with them.

That having been said – I did run into one or two minor issues while playing Accelerated Delivery that, while nothing serious, did make me wonder “what if?”. Firstly – and probably more to do with my personal preferences – even though you have the ability to move the camera, I do somewhat wish that the option was there to zoom in even closer. On some of the bigger puzzles, it can occasionally be difficult to see where your boxes are and that’s when a quick “snap-to” zoom in would be really beneficial.

Secondly, and slightly more of a concern; during one of the later levels, I’d been playing the level for roughly 10 minutes and I was in the process of moving five or six boxes at once, when they all got clogged in a corridor and would no longer move along the conveyor belt. I had to push another two or three boxes behind them before I eventually managed to get them to budge, but by the time they did move, they were threatening to put an end to my fairly lengthy run, and I did end up losing one or two boxes in the avalanche that ensued. It probably won’t happen to 95% of people who play Accelerated Delivery to its conclusion, but for the 5% that do have to restart a 10-12 minute run, it will be a minor frustration that they will inevitably remember.

The blockage in question.

The blockage in question causing me some significant difficulty.

Despite this though, Accelerated Delivery is a nice game to play that requires some proper hard thinking and strategy to complete in the most efficient manner properly. My initial thought was to call it a “decent time-waster”, but I’m almost ashamed to now admit that because Accelerated Delivery is deserving of so much more. Rather than button-mashing or speed-running your way through it, Accelerated Delivery demands you take appropriate time to learn it’s ways and then use what you’ve been taught to achieve the best possible scores and figures. The game is fresh and keeps adding new challenges and puzzles all the time, and you can’t help but continue attempting it regardless of how frustrating the previous level might have been.

I haven’t used my brain so much in a video game since I played Portal 2, and that is a massive credit to Accelerated Delivery. Its a game that will have you scratching your head and playing long after you’ve completed it, trying to top your best scores – it takes puzzle-solving to an entirely different level,  fantastic in its approach, and beneath it all, just one question remains;

Do YOU have what it takes to handle with care, and, more importantly, will you be able to tear yourself away regardless?

Title of Indie Game: Accelerated Delivery.
Most appealing quality?: The sheer meltdown your brain will have when more and more buttons get added – and the feeling of achievement when you manage to nail it perfectly after 10 tries.
Most disappointing quality?:  Aside from the few minor issues I had, Accelerated Delivery does what it does with gusto. Its difficult to fault it.
How much did I play?: I played up to the 6th level for this review, and plan on returning to complete the entire thing before the week is out.
How much does it cost?: Accelerated Delivery is currently available for $5/£3.26 directly from the developer’s store and is worth every penny – support an extremely promising Indie developer and earn yourself a really nice puzzle game in the process. Alternatively, try the demo, featuring six levels, for free!
Where can I find it?: Information regarding the game can be found at the developer’s website.

Accelerated Delivery is a 3D puzzle game created by the minds at Two Button Crew, available now on Windows. You can follow Two Button Crew’s progress with Accelerated Delivery via Twitter.

All reviewing content, including images, is used with consent of the developer. A massive thank you to Two Button Crew for all their help throughout this review and a particular thank you to Alex Van Liew for his help.

Thanks for reading this post! If you enjoyed it, remember you can bookmark this blog or follow me direct from a WordPress account. Alternatively, you can follow me on Twitter here for updates.

If you have any comments, post them below or get in touch with me via Twitter.