“Take on the role of a master perfumer in YeOldPerfumer” I was immediately enticed. Imagine: What exotic scents will you combine to create the perfect mixture? Should I use an alcohol base or perhaps go upmarket and possibly use an ambergris or even deer musk. Sometimes I take a step back and realise how geeky I really am, I mean, will I ever need to know so much about the perfume industry? The same could be said about my journey into Tow Truck Simulator 2011, it turns out I will wilfully jump on anything that could lead to learning something. My father would be proud, but I just shake my head.
It turns out you don’t need to know anything about the perfume industry to take full advantage of YeOldPerfumer (YOP from now on). Instead you are tasked with sorting incoming flowers on a conveyor belt so that the correct coloured flowers are allowed to pass while incorrect are swiped away with a touch of the screen. Set on a static backdrop that is reminiscent of Machinarium the visuals have a hand-drawn sketch theme about them. Backing this up is the light music and bell chimes that accompany your merciless eradication of flowers that are the wrong colour (Turns out perfumers are racist too. Yeah, I went there).
This is where my kind words end for YOP. If we start with the gameplay, the lack of variety would cripple even the most stellar of games. Your only goal is to clear the incorrect flowers for the currently displayed perfume. Compounding this is the fact that the required colour changes entirely at random, meaning you could have a nice line of say blue flowers only for it to change at the last moment. Without time to react and somewhat fiddly controls on a four inch iPhone screen, you will often let several wrong flowers get past and after five wrong flowers it’s game over. Some consideration should be made for this very obvious fault, a one second buffer time perhaps where incorrect flowers are not counted. The ultimate goal is to outscore your friends or if you feel confident, the rest of the world. After every game you can compare your score via GameCentre. This would be a good feature if your score wasn’t largely dependent on luck, you see the flowers on the conveyor belt start slow and gradually the speed builds up over time. With the sudden increase in difficulty it is likely most of your games will last the same amount of time.
But wait, there is more. When you press on an unwanted flower it will poof out of existence with a sparkly particle effect on the screen, aww pretties. However when the exponential speed increase demands that you remove say 20 flowers in the space of six seconds, these sparkly effects pretty much draw your iDevice to a halt. I normally roll with an iPhone 3GS, but to make sure I installed YOP on an iPhone 4 and blow me, the same slow-down occurs in the late game. As a final nail in the coffin may I add that there is currently no pause feature so that any lapse in concentration will result in a game over, somewhat contradictory to the iDevice ethos which normally favours short stints of gaming. Ultimately YOP is missing too many crucial components and in the very competitive iMarketplace one feels that without drastic updates will be squished into the mud rather than pressed neatly into an album.
MLG Rating: 4/10
Platform: iOS Relaease Date: 06/07/11
Disclosure: Midlife Gamer were provided a digital copy of YeOldePerfumer for review purposes by the promoter. The title was reviewed over the course of one week on an iPhone 3GS and 4. For more information on what our scores mean, plus details of our reviews policy, click here.