Why did the llama cross the road? Because it was following the rabbit, of course. Though not until the rooster had been put into a holding pattern while the dog was tapped out of existence.
Welcome to the pixellated madness of Time Ducks, a game that blends Frogger, fruit machines, and time-manipulation to winningly whimsical effect.
It begins with a white duck, which has a busy road to cross. Your object is to get her to the other side in one piece, so she can splash about in the pond to her heart’s content.
To do this you can draw a path for her to follow with your finger, ensuring that no cars hit her as she waddles over the tarmac. If she comes into contact with a car it's Game Over.
Once she’s happily ensconced in her watery home, a reel spins to show you the animal you need to escort next to maintain your combo. Send a rabbit to its burrow and then it’s the llama’s turn. Get all three across and you’ll earn bonus points and simultaneously increase your multiplier.
And so it continues. Fierce dogs will rip your other animals to shreds, but you can tap on their growling faces to disintegrate them. They also act as wild cards, continuing your combo if you don’t have the right animal ready.
Before long you’ll unlock Tier 2 and 3 animals – ducks become roosters, rabbits eventually spawn snails, and comboing llamas more sensibly results in the appearance of a camel.
Then it’s a seriously tricky exercise in plate-spinning. Sometimes, an unexpected creature will appear in your reel and you’ll debate whether to spoil your combo or draw a circuitous route to keep other animals on-screen until the one you want shows up.
Not that you’ll have much time to make such decisions. Animals will happily wander into the road if they’ve not been given a path to follow, and when you’ve got several to micromanage at once mistakes are more common.
Be kind, rewind
Thankfully, you can rewind time if a collision looks likely. Your animal remains locked into position while vehicles travel backwards until you slide your finger to end the temporal disruption.
After a while, it makes perfect sense – which is unusual in a game where you’re simultaneously dodging traffic in control of a monkey, a hyena, and a snail, and you’ve just unlocked a pixel-art image of Justin Bieber. Or topped Werner Herzog’s high score.
The relentless silliness won’t sit well with everyone, but we found its retro-styled graphics and endearingly wonky soundtrack both charming and amusing.
It’s also a fairly fleeting pleasure – once its systems become clear, it gets repetitive fairly quickly, even if developer Tough Guy Studios does its best to freshen things up with new elements every so often.
But £1.49 is a small price to pay for a game that most will happily fritter away an afternoon or two with. Time Ducks may not be the finest iOS game of the year, but it’s easily one of the most memorable.