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iOS Review: Aiko Island

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Who doesn’t like cookies?  The truth is that everyone does, even Aiko.  No, that’s not like “my grandma and your grandma sitting by the fire,” that’s “Iko Iko” this is Aiko (which is both a plural and singular).   Aiko Island is a fictional place populate Red Aiko and Blue Aiko.  The Red Aiko are your typical evil Aiko, whereas the Blue Aiko are your standard good guy Aiko..  At the start of the game Aiko Island, the Red Aiko steal delectable chocolate chip cookies from the Blue Aiko and thus starts your adventure. 

The truth of the matter is that the story is irrelevant, Aiko Island is like any number of mobile games.  Your task is simple – complete eachAiko Island level by making the Red Aiko go away while making sure the Blue Aiko remain.   This is accomplished by tapping Red Aiko to make them disappear, and when they’re a variety which can’t be tapped, making them fall through a hole by removing a log or via some other mechanism.  It is, in short, exceptionally similar to any number of iOS/mobile puzzle games, but it is done with enough wit and charm to still make it a winner.

Win a level on Aiko Island and you retrieve a cookie.  Win a level within a set amount of time and you get a second cookie.  Win a level within a specific number of moves and, you guessed it, you get another cookie.  As you progress on your map of Aiko Island from one level to the next you will find that some places remain locked due to your lack of cookies (should you only have gotten one on every level, do and you can open all the levels).

While on the whole exceptionally fun, the game does take a while to get into a groove due to the exceptionally annoying and rather slow tutorial.  This tutorial is built across several of the early levels and, sadly, there is no good way (save by skipping levels and abandoning cookies) to skip it.  Don’t progress quite quickly enough on those early levels or make too many moves and you’ll find yourself having to watch the tutorial—already annoying the first time out—over and over again.

You will find, even on early levels that you’re going to find it difficult to get all three cookies the first time through as the time requirements (six seconds forAiko Island the first couple of levels and less for the third level) are exceptionally stringent.  On the plus side, complete the level once in the required number of moves, you earn the second cookie, and then you can go back and tap like mad to do the level in the required amount of time to get the third – the second cookie still stays in your pile (the same is true if you complete the level within the time limit but not the move one). 

Even so, the time requirements force an uncomfortable aspect upon the game.  What could be a nice, strategic walk becomes an unnecessarily frenzied rush.  The joy in the game is in the wonderful graphics, the cute little creates, the backgrounds, and the difficulty present in the puzzles themselves, not in rushing through it all quickly.  The timer is a frustration, not an addition to the difficulty level.

But, I do not wish to harp on the timer issues for an extended period, the truth of the matter is that timer or no, Aiko Island is a fun game which can provide hours of amusement.  It has a great score and, as mentioned, excellent graphics.  It may not be the most original of titles, but there is clearly still a whole lot of life left in the genre.  Aiko Island is well worth your money and time.

Aiko Island is currently available for iPhone/iPod, and iPad.


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About Josh Lasser

Josh has deftly segued from a life of being pre-med to film school to television production to writing about the media in general. And by 'deftly' he means with agonizing second thoughts and the formation of an ulcer.