Catching princesses and exploring worlds, sound like fun? Developer Robots and Pencils may have a two iOS games for you; Catch the Princess and Minecraft World Explorer. Sharpen up your finger, you have chains to cut.
Catch the Princess relies on the simple storyline that you are there to rescue the princess, with the added bonus of gathering gems.
Minecraft World Explorer has no storyline, only build and destroy.
Control and Gameplay
Catch the Princess is a puzzle game. Your goal is to guide the cage the princess is trapped in to the little monster in each level. There are different tools to do this. Most of the time you will be cutting chains by swiping your finger across them; other times you will use the bellows to help swing the princess and pixie dust to make her float. There are also dangers to avoid also such as fire breathing dragons and thorny vines.
Minecraft World Explorer overlays a thumbstick and two buttons on the screen for you to use. The thumbstick allows you to move forward, backward, left, and right. To turn around you swipe your finger across the screen. The buttons allow you to jump, place, and destroy blocks. The upper button is dual purpose, touching it will change it from a blue hammer to a red wrecking ball; signifying block placement and destroying respectively. To place a block, tap on the screen where you want it. To destroy a block, switch the hammer/wrecking ball button and tap on the block you want to disappear.
There are 35 different blocks you can place and destroy. Everything from grass and wood blocks to TNT and chests.
Minecraft World Explorer also lets you import your own world from the original Minecraft, something that Minecraft Pocket Edition currently cannot do.
Graphics and Sound
Catch the Princess presents itself in a cute, cartoony, yet dark fashion. Like a Disney princess with a touch of Tim Burton. The sound effects are mostly "pleasing and disappointment" noises from the little monster, and yelps from the princess when her cage suddenly gets caught by a new chain. The background music is a fitting harp based tune that is a nice fill, but not much else.
Graphically Minecraft World Explorer is the expected blocky, 8-bit-esque world it should be. The texture overlays on the blocks are a tad more realistic than the game that inspired this one. Sounds are completely absent from the game.
Its really hard not to compare both of these games to the ones they are obviously inspired by, but then again iTunes is filled with games inspired by other hit games.
While Catch the Princess is pretty much Cut the Rope in new clothes, it is well put together with a level of polish that makes the game stand up and be enjoyable. I can sit and play it for hours or in smaller bite size amounts of time and enjoy every bit of it.
Minecraft World Explorer on the other hand is clunky in its execution. First there is the shuddering frame rate as you try to move around. Blocks will pop in, sometimes right in front of you as is the graphics engine struggles to draw the next section of the world. It's even worse on the worlds you import from the original Minecraft. The limitation of 35 different blocks means that not everything will be drawn. In place of missing graphic blocks there are question marks. So in place of say doors, steps, or fence you get "?"
Even the importing of worlds from the original Minecraft doesn't always work. I tried to import four different worlds; two of my own single player worlds and two multiplayer worlds that I had been given. I think there might be a size limit because Minecraft World Explorer certainly tried to load the multiplayer worlds, but when it reached the end of the load bar it would quit back to the selection menu.
It's too bad to, the world import would have been the one thing that Minecraft World Explorer would have had to stand out from Minecraft Pocket Edition. Maybe with future updates it will, but right now between missing graphics, a terrible frame rate, and no sounds what so ever it's not good.
As a bonus they do throw in a copy of the ebook "Minecraft Strategy Guide" by Brie Thorsteinson Ogle. It covers everything from in-game recipes, information on the block types, monsters, to how to set up a server. The ebook is very handy and nice to have while playing the original Minecraft.
Catch the Princess is cute and enjoyable, it gets a 4 out of 5. Minecraft World Explorer has big problems, but you can import worlds (sort of) and you get a good strategy guide, it gets a 2 out of 5.
Both are available now in the Apple iTunes store. Both games are rated 4+ by the Apple iTunes store. For more information on Catch the Princess see their web site. For more information on Minecraft World Explorer see their web site.