Game Reviews

Aiko Island

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| Aiko Island
Aiko Island
| Aiko Island

If you can have too much of a good thing, is it really that good a thing in the first place? Aiko Island certainly doesn’t want for content, with a fairly substantial bang (125 levels) for your buck (or 69p), but the fun is spread a little too thinly.

After some striking, if slightly over-dramatic, intro music more befitting of a sweeping fantasy epic, you’re whisked into a world populated by what look like squares of fabric vacuumed up from Jim Henson’s studio floor.

Your job is to rescue the blue fuzzy squares with eyes and happy faces from the red fuzzy squares with angry faces (and occasional metal bits) to gain a cookie-based reward at the end of the level. The biscuit game

To do this, you’ll need to get rid of the reds and keep the blues intact, a mechanic that I, as a lifelong Man City fan, can wholeheartedly get behind.

You can tap certain reds to pop them, while others have to be dropped or smashed off the screen using various environmental methods of despatch.

These range from cracked platforms that dissolve when touched to more elaborate mechanisms – for example a weighted swing that you can manoeuvre to topple the grumpy reds. That's the way the cookie crumbles

The size of your biscuity prize – from one to three, surprise surprise - depends on your beating the par number of taps, and whether or not you completed the stage within the extremely strict time limit.

Most levels begin with a dual-coloured stack of Aiko, and your job is to essentially ethnically cleanse it until just the blues remain. Initially, you can get by through simply tapping away the reds, even if it means a measly one cookie as a result.

But it soon gets trickier, particularly when round Aikos are involved. It’s less easy to predict how they’ll fall than the square variety, so solutions don’t come as easily. This can result in a few sticking points, even in the early stages. Raising the mistakes

That these levels more often require quick fingers rather than a sharp brain makes them less satisfying to complete, too – the gameplay is naturally trial-and-error, but there’s a lot more of the latter than when the squares are present.

Occasionally, you’ll be given two paths forward, which is welcome if you’re stuck, but curiously enough this rarely seems to happen on the really tough levels.

Besides, it merely offers the illusion of freedom – some paths are locked until you’ve collected a certain number of cookies, while others end up as cul-de-sacs. In the end you’ll have to play them all regardless. Team Aiko

Still, it’s compelling for a while, and the presentation is suitably polished, if a little bland. The puzzles, meanwhile, are occasionally ingenious but more often than not it’s simply a case of repeating a level over and over until you get your taps in the right order.

Ultimately, Aiko Island’s biggest problem is that its structure is becoming a little too familiar.

We’ve been inundated with physics puzzlers where one item counts as a pass and three means you’ve truly ‘completed’ a level. Aiko Island is a more accomplished take on this sub-genre than most, but it’s not among the best in class.

It’s a passable time-killer – and with such a substantial level count, that’s plenty of hours to murder – but once you’ve deleted it to make room for the next physics-based puzzler you’ll likely discover it’s been similarly erased from your memory banks, too.

Aiko Island

Fun but forgettable, this physics-based puzzler is the very definition of ‘candidly disposable’
Chris Schilling
Chris Schilling
Chris has been gaming since the age of five, though you wouldn't think it to see him play. Thankfully, his knowledge of the medium is as impressive as his unerring ability to fail at Angry Birds.