Arriving: Save a Dinosaur

Physics based puzzler games are definitely a fun way to pass the time. They offer a decent amount of challenge and require some mental effort but they’re still the kind of game you can pick up and play for just a few minutes at a time. A new arrival to the world of physics-based games is Arriving, a simple game where you simply draw lines and shapes to solve the puzzles.

The Arriving story is based around Ano, a young dinosaur that has not yet hatched from his egg. He hasn’t been able to enjoy the world yet, but he was able to avoid the destruction of the dinosaurs. Several years later, he is alive but he lacks the power to break out of the shell. It is your job to help Ano acquire the energy necessary to break through the shell. Read on to learn more about the game and how you can help Ano.

Gameplay Basics

Basic gameplay is quite simple. You are presented with a level in which you must collect all of the glowing blue energy by touching it with the egg. The controls are quite simple – just use the mouse to draw lines and shapes to coerce the egg to move where you need it to go. Double click or slide over objects to remove them. You can also click and hold to create a perfect circle to use in the level. As you progress through the game, a few additional objects are added such as black holes which return you to the start of the level.

One of the "simple" levels from the first world.

Scoring is quite simple as well – You earn points for collecting the energy. Each line drawn costs 20 points, and each complete shape drawn costs 15 so you must draw wisely. You also lose a point per second, so it’s definitely necessary to move as quickly as possible. At the end of each level, you earn up to 3 stars based upon the number of points earned.

My score - I'll never get three stars!

Advanced Features and Thoughts

There really isn’t a whole lot to Arriving. The game features 7 different worlds (for now) with 8 levels in each scene, for a total of 56 levels. Normally, I would lament the fact that a game only has 8 levels per world. However, considering the fact that I played back and forth with my roommate for about an hour and we didn’t even beat the first world, I’ll say it’s ok. The developers do state on the app description page that more levels will be added soon.

Level selection in the first world, "Orient."

The last notable feature of the game is definitely the achievements. Arriving boasts 32 different achievements you can earn. Achievements range from world completion to speed levels to total gameplay time. In my first couple hours of gameplay, I was only able to earn one achievement so that definitely speaks to the challenge of the game.

My single achievement earned thus far.

Arriving definitely offers some fun moments, but it’s definitely not one of my favorite games. First, I wish it was slightly easier to beat levels and earn stars. Even in the first world, I was stuck on some levels for insanely long amounts of time. Then, when I was finally able to beat certain levels I found it nearly impossible to consistently earn more than one star. While I definitely appreciate a good challenge, this game was more often an exercise in frustration than anything else.

A more advanced level. There are black holes that come and go on these levels.

To further compound the challenging nature of the game, it is incredibly hard to play well if you have a trackpad. I did switch to a mouse after a few hours of frustrating gameplay and it definitely got a lot easier after that. I don’t want to have to switch to a mouse every time I play a game that’s really meant to be played just a few levels at a time. If it was an expensive, intensive game I played for hours at a time then I wouldn’t have a problem switching to a mouse before playing. For this game, however, I wish the developers would make the game easier to play with a trackpad.

Final Thoughts

Arriving definitely has some good – the graphics and story are cute and having a good degree of challenge is definitely nice. The levels last a good long time, and the developers have already promised to add more. In fact, once I switched to a mouse, I really enjoyed the game overall. At that point, I was no longer spending 25 minutes frustrated with a level because I couldn’t use the trackpad to do what I wanted within the level.

That being said, I’m probably not going to get much more play out of this game. I’m not going to switch to a mouse every time I want to play a game for just a few minutes at a time. If the developers can figure out a way to make the controls work better for those on laptops, I’m sold. Until that point, I don’t really think the game is worth a download unless you use a mouse all of the time.

As always, however, I’m curious to hear your thoughts. The game is rated fairly well in the App Store, so clearly some of you like the game. Have you played? Did you love it or hate it? Share your thoughts in the comments below.


Summary

A physics based puzzler in which you must draw lines and shapes in order to collect energy and free the dinosaur from his shell.

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