It’s funny, but I personally always saw a lot of iOS games released on the market as my adult life equivalent of the little toys you’d get in machines found at grocery stores or pharmacies. For a low price you’d get something fun, new and magical that would keep you entertained for hours on end. Cling! by First5 Games has managed to not only enhance that feeling by making a game about a bubble gum machine toy, but has actually made me want to buy the toy featured in the game.
Cling! is the first I’ve ever seen in the newly found pegformer genre. You play as Edgar, a small purple eyeball with stretchy tentacles as he grips onto various pegs to work his way around the inner workings of the machine. The controls are simple enough, players hold their finger down on the screen and Edgar will head in that direction provided there’s something for him to grab onto. There’s also more of a classic joystick option, though I personally found the former to be much more reliable and fun.
Standard blue pegs will pull Edgar in while green pegs will sort of push him away, and we’ll soon be introduced to spiky pegs that can be grabbed onto, but will result in death should the eye of Edgar itself actually touch them. Other hazards include Killy, the manifestation of the electrical workings which will shock Edgar, and of course failing to grab hold of pegs can result in simply falling into the depths below (and a humorous animation of Edgar holding up a sign for help reminiscent of old cartoons). Pulling your finger off the screen will result in Edgar simply letting go, and if no pegs can be grabbed, the level will eventually restart. Many levels will feature puzzles requiring Edgar to let go of the pegs themselves to fling himself over dangerous obstacles. Moving quickly will build up momentum and allow for larger jumps to be made.
Unlike a lot of iOS games, Cling!’s variation on the three star system doesn’t come from collecting anything in the levels themselves, and instead opts for making each mission a time trial. Completing a level fast enough will award players with a gold medal. Though only the quickest fingers (or tentacles) in all the land will be able to move with the speed and dexterity to get Edgar to the end of each level in the amount of time to get the gold.
Hidden throughout certain levels are also hats and other items that can be picked up to customize Edgar up a bit, and gumdrops act as a form of currency in the game which can be collected in various levels, usually in a spot that adds an extra level of difficulty and danger to your run, creating a nice balance of risk vs. reward. Gumdrops can be spent on more customizable items, but also on new characters, which are basically different color palettes of Edgar, but are all given their own names and a bit of explanation into their character to help make them feel fun and unique.
Cling! is a fun take on the platformer genre that has a lot of content, with currently 90 available levels. The visuals are light-hearted and fun, with the vending machine world itself being a visual treat to explore. New mechanics and hazards get introduced fairly frequently, giving the game a comfortable sense of progression, and finally the character of Edgar is loveable and manages to show a lot of expression in that one big eyeball of his. Even the devious smirk of Killy shows off a good bit of character. Cling! is far from a misnomer as it’s one you really will want to hold on to.
+Fun, challenging gameplay
+Good characterization and visuals
+The physics work very well to get the character around the levels
-You can’t reset a level without watching the quick death animation
-Many of the gold medal time qualifications seem incredibly high
Fitting with the developer’s name, within the first five seconds, I was hooked. Cling! is one to grab onto and not let go.