In the brief time that they have been producing apps, Namco has already become one of the industry leaders in bringing classic games and characters from years past to today’s hottest piece of technology: the iPhone.
With that in mind, it was no surprise to a lot of folks in the business that Namco was releasing another bit of nostalgia with Inspector Gadget.
Mar. 16, 2009
Inspector Gadget, a character who recently celebrated his 25th birthday, is up to his old habits as he solves the world’s toughest cases one goofy mistake at a time. With the help of his niece Penny and their trusty dog Brain, players will be able to guide their favorite characters throughout the many complex, maze-like levels while collecting clues and points along the way.
Inspector Gadget gives players the option of playing a New Game, which is essentially a campaign mode that saves your progress, or a Quick Play, which allows players who are short on time to try and beat their top scores in single levels.
The first thing players will notice when starting a New Game is how cluttered the screen is. The game takes you through a quick-and-dirty tutorial (which pretty much involves arrows pointing at the buttons with a two or three word explanation of what function they perform). Once you look past the sheer number of buttons and how visually intrusive they can be, you start to realize that the layout is fairly straightforward and intuitive.
First, on the top left and right corners of your screen (when the iPhone is held in with a landscape orientation) you will find a button consisting of two arrows. This is the jump left/jump right button.‚ You can also use these buttons to change your direction while you are in the air. Right below the jump buttons you will fine the walk left/walk right buttons. Below those are the crawl left and crawl right buttons.
Finally, right next to the walk buttons are the action buttons. These buttons, signified by their red color, activate the various amounts of gadgets made available throughout the game. However, these buttons, though arguably the most important in the game, are also the most disturbing as they are the ones closest to the middle of the screen. So, as easy and intuitive as the controls of Inspector Gadget are, the intrusiveness of their placement really offsets a lot of their value.
You really get your money’s worth with the length and complexity of the levels in Inspector Gadget. Players will have to explore the majority of the levels to unlock certain areas and to continue the investigation. Levels also have some variability in their types. Though most of the time levels will require players to walk, other levels will be put on rails, putting players in a race against time.
One thing that stood out in Inspector Gadget was its lack of replayability. Levels usually took too long to reattempt in short time periods (which, in my experience, seems to be when the majority of gaming apps are used). Also, the built-in high scores are not very challenging, and easy to beat.
Overall, Inspector Gadget is a quality game. It is fun, lengthy and, best of all, will bring you back your days of youth and cartoon watching. You may not want to play it more than a few times, but you will be able to get some decent mileage out of it with the complexity of the levels. At $4.99, it’s a stretch to justify the price. However, if you like maze games and would like a bit of nostalgia, it might be worth spending the extra iCoin.