Crytek, a company best known for its demanding, graphically-impressive PC titles, has made its mobile debut with a physics-based puzzler known as Fibble. Rather than adopting the cartoonish “Flash game” aesthetic which many mobile developers use, however, Crytek has brought its graphical prowess to bear on Fibble, making it one of the best-looking titles on the platform — and a fun game, too.
Fibble casts players in the role of the eponymous hero, a pint-sized alien who has crashed his ship in a seemingly-deserted human household. Through a combination of flicking, rolling and cooperating with his scattered crewmates, Fibble must reassemble his crew and safely escape from the house.
The basic controls of Fibble are reminiscent of “flick-based” titles such as Squids, Fling a Thing or Angry Birds. Players pull back on Fibble to charge him up with power, and then release him in a particular direction to send him rolling on his way to victory. The eventual goal of each level is to get the alien hero into a “hole,” somewhat like mini-golf, but along the way there are coins and stars to collect, many of which appear to be off the most direct route to the finish. Most levels may be completed with a single flick, however, thanks to environmental features which speed up Fibble or bounce him in a specific direction. As he slows to a halt, players may also tilt their iDevice to “nudge” him into the hole, helping prevent frustrating “edge of the hole” situations.
As the game progresses, Fibble meets up with his lost crewmates, each of whom have a unique ability. One allows Fibble to jump, for example, while another stops him in his tracks, spins around and then allows the player to release him in a specific direction. Most of these companion characters are controlled simply by tapping on the screen when Fibble rolls into their radius of influence, which is marked on screen. Later levels, however, provide Fibble with an inventory of companions who may be placed on special “X” spots around the level. Initially, it is extremely obvious where the characters must be placed, but as players proceed further through the game’s challenges, careful consideration of which character to place where becomes extremely important.
The game carries some basic social features in the form of Game Center leaderboard support. There are no Game Center achievements to unlock despite the game having its own built-in achievement system, however.
Despite being a paid app, Fibble also carries several in-app purchases. These are all optional, however, and most may be earned through gameplay. One allows the player to unlock all levels without having to earn sufficient stars beforehand. Another allows all bonus levels to be unlocked without having to locate hidden “key” objects. A third functions similarly to Angry Birds’ Mighty Eagle powerup by allowing a level to be completed automatically, though this carries a one-hour cooldown before it may be used again. It is also the only item which may not be earned through normal play — understandable, since it is essentially a “cheat” button.
Fibble is one of the most graphically-impressive titles on iOS, taking full advantage of the graphical capabilities of the newer iDevices but still running on the 3GS. While Crytek’s PC titles for which it is best-known are mature, hardcore titles, Fibble shows that the German company is more than capable of competing in the family-friendly casual market too. The gameplay is fun and challenging without being offputting to beginners, and the nature of the game’s structure provides plenty of means for future expansion. All in all, it is a very strong mobile debut for Crytek — hopefully this won’t be the last we see of it on the iOS platform.
Fibble is available now in separate iPhone and iPad versions. The iPhone version is currently the No. 49 paid app and the No. 28 paid game. The iPad version is presently holding the No. 23 spot on the paid iPad apps charts and No. 10 in paid iPad games. Follow the game’s progress through the App Store charts with AppData, our tracking service for iOS and social games and developers.