Rafter – iPhone Game Mini-Review

Rafter is a physics based puzzle game from Punflay. I came across this game after the developer commented on another review I posted. They – very kindly – offered me redeem codes so that I could try, and I assume review, their game. I went to the AppStore to look at Rafter and, I must admit, my first impression was that this was not a game I would have purchased on my own. I was tempted to take the code, but I wanted the freedom to do an unbiased review. This does not mean I won’t ever take free stuff (Apple? iPad?). But iPhone apps are usually very inexpensive, so I prefer to buy anything I think I might review. Rafter sells for just $.99, and I bought it.

RafterHelpLets start with the look of the game. I mentioned above that I didn’t think I would have purchased this game if I had not been asked to, but why? It is designed to look like Leonardo Da Vinci sketches. The result, at first glance, is a lack of color, and punch, in the AppStore screen shots. Don’t we all pre-judge applications based on those screen shots? I am happy to report that those sample images don’t do the game justice.

When you first launch Rafter it presents you with a screen asking if you want to enable OpenFeint. I had no plan on sharing my score, so I declined and started looking around.

The in-game info screen states:

Rafter is inspired from the work of Leonardo Da Vinci. This game not only utilizes the skills of the player it also takes on his creative problem solving ability.

That seems about right. The game consists of 51 levels that must be finished in order, each getting progressively harder. Each level presents you with a red target that is obstructed by platforms, gears, swinging hammers and more. Your job is to hit the red target, and you are given two tools to accomplish this feat. Circles and rectangles. To draw one of those objects, you first select the object type and then drag your finger inside a pre-defined area at the top of the screen. This took some getting used to since my finger blocks the drawing area, making it difficult to draw small objects. Within the first few minutes I was reminded of Touch Physics by Games4Touch. Rafter, however, is more complex with some excellent levels. I was at level 34 by the end of the first day, and I quickly finished the game on day 2. That’s not a ton of gameplay, but it was addicting while it lasted.

During the game I was confused by some of the physics. I would create rectangles that, when dropped, would bounce – forever. I could see this happening with a circle, but with rectangles it was just weird. Also, some game levels have fans that can blow your objects across the screen. Cool effect, but getting them to work was not always easy. Circles appear to not be effected at all, and rectangles seemed like they had to be exactly perpendicular to the air flow to catch the air. Now, I am not a physics person, but I would think the airflow would have effected some of the rectangles I dropped that passed by the fan at 45 degrees.

RafterLevel24For scoring, each level has a timer and your score is based on the speed at which you solve the level. When I was finished with the game I went looking for my score but I could not find it anywhere. Remember, I had declined the OpenFeint option at the beginning because I had no plan to share my score. It appears that it is required, even to see your own score. That’s odd, very odd. I must be missing something. I did really want to know how I did, so I decided to enable OpenFeint. Having declined it at the start, when I clicked the Scores link I was again presented with the option to enable it, which I did. My score was not very good – hey, I said I was not a physics genius. I scored 2446 which appears to have placed me 157th on the list.

The game is well designed and, at the price, is a great buy. If you like puzzle games, and specifically physics type games, you should try Rafter. It passed the biggest test. I did not want to stop playing, and I was left wanting more when I was done.

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