Developer: Gordon Midwood
Price: $2.99 Download on the App Store
lilt line - As the music genre continues to gain mainstream traction with the Guitar Heros and Rock Bands of the world, it’s inevitable that we’ll see efforts that aim to imitate instead of innovate.
This point has already been proven with six versions of the critically and casually acclaimed “Tap Tap Revenge” titles on the iPhone. To my delight, the group at different cloth (btw, doesn't that name kick ass?) has dropped an inspired musical confection to obliterate all the clones.
Lilt line will not change the world, but I can confidently say that it’ll make you hopeful about the future of musical games on the iPhone.
At the core of lilt line is its use of the dubstep genre of music grown out of the UK garage era back in 2000. There are a few interpretations of what the musical style is at its foundation, but it’s a bass heavy form of techno/jungle that has a dark and foreboding feel. I find the music quite captivating and hypnotic, and I was stoked to see it be a lynchpin component in Lilt Line.
Now that you’re all caught up on dubstep, let’s get into the gameplay that powers Lilt Line.
In this level based musical adventure, you assume the role of a nimble white line flowing in a two dimensional linear path. Tilting the iPhone left or right makes your line move up or down, and this simple mechanic handles all movement in the game. While the goal is get the end of the level, there a few considerations that you have to account for. First, your line can't touch any portion of the solid black areas in the level. Second, you have to tap the screen in rhythm with occasional gray columns that correspond to beats in the music. Failing on either of these considerations deducts points from your scoreboard, and losing all of your points triggers a “Game Over” screen. The prevailing feeling you get in playing through the game is that you’re helping conduct an aural thrill ride.
As a compliment to the great music, lilt line creates a mini rave for your eyes as well. The visual schema is basic and fundamentally sound, and the guys at different cloth did an excellent job of creating interesting angles for you to ascend and descend through with your line. I’m a sucker for beautiful gradients, and I found the use of them in the backgrounds exceptional and appropriate for the swings in the musical tonality.
As much as adore lilt line, there are some warnings that I’d be irresponsible not to note. One, the game is criminally short. I was able to blow through the game in an hour, and some may feel a bit cheated after laying down their $3. I’ve done multiple playthroughs because of the excellent music, but your mileage may vary. Two, Lilt Line is short on extras and alternate gameplay modes to provide tangible replay value. With the imminent release of the 3.0 firmware, development studios have to step their game up to keep pace with the best of the best. These issues aside, I had fun with lilt line and I’m hopeful that different cloth can pump more content into the game to increase the perceived and actual value proposition.