Tale of the Zodiac [rating: 4.5/5]
I imagine with the number of games in the App Store thinking of original ideas must become increasingly difficult but in Tale of the Zodiac an original idea has been achieved thanks to the task of having to save the signs of the zodiac from a dark power.
While the storyline may be unique the game-play is pretty familiar. You rescue the signs of the zodiac by clearing the screen of falling circles by shooting them with their corresponding colored gem.
Whenever a game relies on color matching I am a little skeptical as to how easy it will be to play for those who suffer with color-blindness. I am one such person and often struggle to play such games however with Tale of the Zodiac there was no such problem as while each bubble is color coded with a mix of colors the primary colors are also shown making it much easier to distinguish between them.
To save each sign you must first clear a number of levels before you get to face the boss stage. Clearing the individual stages is completed by simply shooting the colored gems at the falling bubbles. Hitting a bubble with the corresponding colored gem will make it disappear. However some bubbles are made up of multiple colors and these will take multiple hits of their corresponding colors to make them disappear.
As the bubbles disappear your health bar will fill and filling this bar will complete the level. In addition to the standard bubbles there are also power-up bubbles, bending elements that affect the trajectory of your shot, bubbles that will clear all bubbles of the corresponding color and bubbles that contain stars that are the currency of Tale of the Zodiac. These are just a few of the non-standard bubbles that can have a direct impact on your ability to clear each stage.
Should you hit a bubble with the wrong color gem the bubble will remain intact and instead the gem will fall to the ground. You can neutralize the falling gem by tapping on it, otherwise should it reach the ground a small amount of your health bar will be lost.
The end of level boss consist of the zodiac sign which is made of of multiple small bubbles and a main bubble which has to be cleared to defeat the boss. Before you can attempt to hit the main bubble the smaller bubbles must be cleared first. The same method is used with each bubble having to be hit by it’s corresponding colored gem. However the bubbles are much smaller than the standard bubbles and instead of them moving down the screen the move horizontally meaning that you’ll often find yourself having to shoot ahead of their current location so that by the time the gem is shot it will hit the bubble.
Just like the earlier levels hitting the bubble with the wrong colored gem will result in it falling to the ground if you don’t tap it but in addition to this the boss will also shoot at you. You can defend yourself against these shots by also tapping on them.
The whole game is based on Zodiac Island and after completing the first level the next one will become available via a map of the island. The island is beautifully illustrated as are the levels themselves, full of bright colors and fireworks! The sound is also pleasant and appropriately mystical for a game based around astrology.
As previously mentioned you can gain stars while playing the game and these stars can be then be spent to purchase upgrades and hints. These power-ups affect how they work in game, for example initially the clock power-up that freezes time lasts for 5 seconds but purchasing the upgrade will increase the time by an additional second with each upgrade.
The only downside is the lack of a leader board, either locally or online which prevents you from attempting to beat your best scores or those of players around the world.
Tale of the Zodiac is great value for money if you are able to grab it at it’s current sale price of just 99 cents and even when it reverts to it’s normal price it won’t disappoint. With 100+ levels, power-ups and achievements you’ll be rescuing zodiac signs for some time to come and that’s even before you attempt to complete the game on all of the three difficulty levels.
- 100+ levels of bubble popping action
- Nice variety of power-ups
- In game achievements
- No online functionality
Tale of the Zodiac [iPhone] – Video Gameplay by Colorbox
Price: $0.99 (App Store)
Updated: Jul 07, 2010
Reviewed Version: 1.0.1
1.0.1 (iOS 4.0 Tested)
Seller: Color Box Software Company Limited
© 2010 Colorbox
Requirements: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 2.2.1 or later.