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Bit-size, fun, moderately taxing, and with cute graphics – Saving Yello is a great iOS diversion.

iOS Game Review: Saving Yello

It seems to me that, regularly, we assume that the requirements for a mobile game are different than for a console or handheld device title.  Well, they are and they probably should be. 

Often, it’s quick little hits of fun that people are often looking for with a mobile title instead of a deep, immersive, all-consuming experience (can you imagine playing Skyrim on your iPhone?).  What then makes a mobile game good is its ability to tax the mind (at least a little), be digestible in small pieces, and keep you coming back for more.  It doesn’t hurt for it to look good either.  One game that hits all those requirements was released in mid-November for iOS, Saving Yello

Ridiculous amounts of fun, Saving Yello requires the player to help get a poor goldfish, Yello, back to his bowl after his owner, seven-year-old Mathilda, drops him random places.  Each level requires that you, in a set number of moves get Yello back to his bowl by traversing obstacles like holes in the floor, toys, and random other bits of flotsam and jetsam.  There are also power-ups like blocks of ice, bits of fire, and some dynamite to help you on your way.

Yello is moved by grabbing his tail, pulling it back, and aiming him in slingshot fashion.  Yes, yes, like Angry Birds, but you’re actually physically assaulting the fish as you’re pulling his tail, not only upon impact.  Plus, Yello isn’t really angry he just seems worried about suffocation.

No, it’s not handled in a cruel manner in any way (though unquestionably some people out there will find the treatment of the pretend fish less than agreeable… we disagree).  Instead, the game features great, cartoony, graphics, and a poor fish who truly seems to just want to get to his fishbowl.   Let us not forget either that you’re trying to help him, it was Mathilda who removed him from the bowl in the first place.

There are three different areas, 40 stages, and 20 achievements to be unlocked within the game.  Winning each level will result in your being awarded one, two, or three stars depending on how well you scored.  Score, in turn, is determined by how many things in the environments (like toys) you were able to break.  It is a little difficult to figure out exactly how the score multipliers work (although getting two or three of the same toys in a row is certainly a help), and multipliers are required to get high enough score to earn three stars, but if you set out with the goal of destroying everything, you’ll probably do pretty well.

In all honesty, there is nothing all that deep about Saving Yello.  It doesn’t really matter how the poor goldfish got removed from his bowl, nor does it seem to matter all that much how well you score (unless you’re obsessive about such things and the game does have Game Center and OpenFeint support for such folks).  Instead, Saving Yello is just a fun diversion.  It requires some thought and some planning, the game is well-paced with difficulty slowly getting ratcheted up in level after level, and there is a great sense of reward upon actually getting Yello where he wants to be.

Bit-size but with lots of stuff (via the destructive environments) going on, fun, moderately taxing, and with cute graphics – Saving Yello is a great iOS diversion.  

Saving Yello is rated for people 9+ and is available on iPhone, iPad, and iOS.

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.

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