A surprise release last Wednesday for me was Plantman [Free] subtitled,
"Episode One: Last Day at The Plant Plant."
An App Store debut no less from, wait for it... The National Film School of Denmark, in co-operation with the Danish Broadcasting Corporation -you don't see that every week!
So how and why did an iOS game come into development by a film school? Those are questions I may not be alone in wanting to ask these talented self publishers.
Now, I've visited their **website and unfortunately the only apparent means of contacting them is via post, fax, or telephone ...best not hold our breaths!? I digress.
Curious of its title, intrigued by Plantman's screenshots, l decided to download the game and at least check it out.
20 -30 chapters later, I've heard, seen also played enough to bet, I'll probably soon be left in anticipation of Episode Two ( and the rest of the series. )
Unsurprisingly perhaps, though of course not detracting any due credit from its presentation, the introduction looks and sounds as though it could have been made by a major animation studio.
A compliment and maybe clues on the makers, given it is big on production value.
Of which, on the contrary to games sometimes falling short of their cinematic bits in-game, on this occasion the quality doesn't end there, but continues throughout.
Headphones come recommended, if not for the witty laugh out loud dialogue, an all round enhancing accompanying soundtrack.
Described as a "Post nuclear, near-apocalyptic Sci-Fi Adventure" Plantman is a Puzzle-Platformer which will have you using stealth and outsmarting, even manipulating creatures and robots with your sidekick.
You play protagonist Andy Sprout, best friends with a coffee machine and Oxygen Plant Plant Manager of Sector 347, Greensworth Gardens.
The main freshly produced oxygen supplier of Earth 2284, where natural plant life and sunlight are things of the past.
Set at the start of the Last Day at The Plant Plant, growing tired of a daily plant-eating giant plant-lice infestation, our green-fingered hero is about to find something that will change his life forever.
The game plays not unlike Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee and definitely evokes nostalgic feelings of the PlayStation classic.
Rather than a virtual d-pad and buttons, swipes and taps have been cleverly implemented. These work seamlessly ,and just feel right.
Embark on a journey of wonder, adventure, loveable characters and bugs, lots of bugs.
Talking of which, aside from a one-time occurring bug where Sprout became stuck in a wall, the only problem I have encountered is with in *saving.
There are no manual options and so I presume the game saves automatically? After playing for the first time, you are able to continue from where you left off. That, or choose to restart a previously completed chapter.
Well, that is how it's supposed to work. However, up to press, for me at least, tapping a chapter number or 'Continue' has no effect.
Hopefully this can be fixed in an update.
The game itself doesn't feel all that long ( though there are three acts, totalling 43 chapters. ) Still, even if the title could be completed in one sitting, it would be nice to have a save function that worked.
You know, for those times when we get stuck, or just want to play a quick session.
Not only is Plantman free, but it contains no advertisements or in-app purchases.
Which begs the question: will the next episode be an IAP?
Let's hope so! Hopefully we won't have to wait too long for news of a release date either -watch this space?
I really feel I've stumbled upon a hidden gem here, got drenched in nostalgia and left wanting more -I'm Indiana Jones dammit!
If you like either, or all of the following; puzzle-platformers, animated shorts, immersive stories and yes okay, Abe -I highly recommend you download Plantman.
What have you got to lose? Except a potentially wonderful experience missed if you don't try, after all -it's free! Oh and did I mention it is flawlessly universal?
This has been more of a first look than a full-on review, nevertheless, right now I would surely give Plantman
*****5/out of 5 stars - Majorly epic all-round!
*Since the posting of this article Plantman's developers have found said problems with saving progress.
They issued a bug alert in their app description and are working on fixing it. Hopefully we shouldn't have to wait too long.
** A-hah! Fancy that? There is now a fully-fledged official website [ link updated ] dedicated to the game, complete with a contact form. ( I'm holding out for the twitter account. ) Plantman is going to Android and a browser version is coming soon!