Sound has always been vital in games. With it, sound can invoke emotion, emphasise elements within the game, and overall immerse you in the experience. But sound has seldom been the primary focus of a title, at least not in the same way as it is in Stem Stumper.
Stem Stumper can be played in two distinctly different ways, the obvious one being through normal visual and audio play. You trace your finger over a grid to uncover the location of a selection of different items to aid you in getting your character – a plant – from the start point to the also hidden bags of fertiliser strewn across the grid. Obstacles such as tree stumps and poison gas clouds often block direct routes, and after finding the fertilisers on the map, it’s a matter of finding which items – such as exploding acorns – can clear you path in the most efficient way. It’s a simple yet compelling puzzle game that challenges you to better your efficiency with a scoring system, and gets increasingly more complex and difficult as you progress.
However, there is a whole other side to Stem Stumper, the Sonar mode, which strips away all the visual indicators leaving you with sound alone to navigate the grid. This is where Stem Stumper shows its true colours, figuratively speaking. Each items and obstacle on the grind has a distinct sound to indentify it by, and on Sonar mode this is your only clue to mapping out what is on the grid. What were simple puzzles in the traditional mode now become significantly more cerebral as you need to memorise the grids layout solely from the sound of each square. It’s wonderfully unique and is designed to offer a completely different experience to the majority of other titles currently on the market.
Stem Stumper’s is both a unique experience for all players and one of the few to appeal to players with impaired sight. This is certainly worth your time.
MLG Rating: 9/10
Platform: iOS Release Date: 19/04/2011
Disclosure: Midlife Gamer were provided a digital copy of Stem Stumper for review purposes by the promoter. The title was reviewed over the course of two weeks on an iPhone. For more information on what our scores mean, plus details of our reviews policy, click here.