The iOS App Store is awash with apps and games, so for any developer it’s difficult to get your work noticed, especially if you’re a one-man outfit. Eyes Attack is the brainchild of Russian indie developer, Alexander Murzanaev, with publishing duties taken care of by the quirky folk at Marvelous (publishers of console games like No More Heroes and Harvest Moon). Sadly, while Eyes Attack is a decent effort; it isn’t exciting or unique enough to distance itself from the hundreds of other games released on the App Store each week.
Simply put, you’re a tiny ball of fluff named Hunter, who is trying to save the world from a race of alien eyes by spitting stones at them. Personally, I’d put the fate of the world in the hands of some sort of fuzzy military unit, armed with guns, but maybe no-one had the foresight to set up that sort of defence program. Damn pacifists.
So, by tilting your iDevice to move Hunter, and tapping the screen to spit stones into the air, you must hit the falling eyes to evict them from the Earth. You have to ask just what Hunter has against these allegedly “evil” aliens. All they seem to do is jump from side to side; it’s not like we’re dealing with Xenomorphs here. Anyway, I digress; these cute beasties jump from side to side, and you must spit projectiles at them, either from underneath, or by taking a run up and using your movement momentum to spit stones in other directions.
That’s pretty much it, to be honest. Enemies come in various sizes and colours, with bigger enemies splitting into smaller enemies when hit, and different coloured eyes having different behaviours and abilities. You only can only spit a certain number of stones at any one time (depending on the level), and you must pick these stones back up to use them again. Using one stone to hit multiple eyes will result in a combo, and an increased score. Upon defeat, enemies will drop little eyes (for buying upgrades), and some may even drop a power-up, to make Hunter slightly less useless.
Eyes can be used in-between levels to purchase permanent upgrades (such as increased health or more powerful stones), disposable power-ups (like laser traps, cannonballs and nuclear strikes that clear the entire screen), hats (that act as armour) and new costumes. Of course, it wouldn’t be a mobile game without the in-app purchase of eyes to make these items a little more obtainable.
Sadly, there isn’t an upgrade to make Eyes Attack’s tile controls less annoying. While there are options for setting the sensitivity of those controls, it feels like an absolute chore to literally wrestle with moving Hunter, especially getting the momentum to launch stones in directions other than up. More often than not, you just end up launching yourself into the nearest enemy (which will kill them, but cause you to lose health as well).
As a result, trying to angle your projectiles becomes a far too risky method of achieving victory. So most of the time you’ll be taking the patient route, positioning yourself next to enemies and waiting for them to jump over you so that you can plunge a piece of granite into their soft underbellies.
Because it takes so long for some types of enemies to decide they want to jump, you might be waiting ages, especially if you’ve used all your stones and can’t get to them because several enemies are in your way. Much like waiting in a queue, it always feels like whoever is in front of where you need to go takes an absolute age to move the Hell out of the way. Plus, even after you’ve cleared the screen of enemies, you might have to wait ages for the next set of enemies to appear.
Quite frankly, I spent most of my time in Eyes Attack waiting around for things to happen. Which is incredibly boring, especially for a mobile game. Even playing in sessions of a couple of minutes, I found myself becoming increasingly bored of its slow pace, lack of variety, and generally unrewarding nature. In some levels, there’ll be a female Hunter that you need to stop from being touched by the enemies, so occasionally we’re dealing with annoying escort missions here as well. There is a level editing mode, where you can create levels and challenge your friends/the internet, but it’s just more of the same.
“More of the same” is exactly how I would describe the audio/video elements in Eyes Attack as well. You’ve got some stock background music, stock sound effects, and character/background design that doesn’t particularly stand out from any other average mobile game. But then, the simplistic gameplay doesn’t really demand for anything more than this is.
VERDICT: In an ocean of downloadable mobile games, Eyes Attack is a mere minnow. Luckily, this game is free to play, so at least you can download it right now and judge for yourself. It’s not a bad game as such, it’s just uninspired, unrewarding and unremarkable.
AVERAGE. The epitome of a 50/50 game, this title will be unspectacular but inoffensive, charmless but amiable. We aren’t condemning a game by scoring it a 5, but we certainly aren’t championing it, either.