Happy in an App: Robot Unicorn Attack

I’ve said it many times before, but it bears repeating: the best types of games available for the iPhone are the ones that you can pick up and play quickly and easily. They don’t involve multiple complex levels, the controls are so simple they’re stupid and every time you play it’s just fun.

That, in a nutshell, is Robot Unicorn Attack

So What Is This Game, Anyways?

Ever catch yourself up late and watching some television? If so, you might have stumbled into [adult swim], the Cartoon Network’s name for their late-night programming lineup that includes shows not intended for younger viewers. They’ll show uncensored episodes of The Family Guy, American Dad, Robot Chicken and many more. It’s good stuff.

Hope you like rainbows.

Hope you like rainbows.

Somewhere along the way, the [adult swim] team decided to start making apps, and did so with that same unique and wacky style that made them popular in the first place. That’s where Robot Unicorn attack came from.

The concept is that you are a robot unicorn, and you’re chasing your dreams — and the soundtrack is the song “Always” by Erasure. That seems like a pretty short description for a game with such a unique title, but that’s pretty much it in a nutshell.

How It Plays

So how does it play? Well the game is a side scroller, and the speed never really changes on you unless you tell it to. You gallop across this lavender-colored background, running along these land masses that really don’t have any rhyme or reason to them. Along the way are these little fairy looking things that you collect to get points. And then if you come across a large star, then you can blast it apart by hitting a rainbow attack which propels you forward quickly in the process.

You're trying to collect those little fairy things up there on the right.

You're trying to collect those little fairy things up there on the right.

And that’s pretty much it. No really, that’s the game, and if that’s disappointing to you, well I don’t know what to say. But even though the concept seems simple and so do the controls, that’s also the beauty of it all. That’s what makes it awesome.

Sharpen Your Reflexes

This game is quick and punishing. Although you have to jump between land masses, you can also hold down the jump to increase your distance, or double tap to do a double jump. Mix in a rainbow attack to boost your speed and you’re good to go. But if you time your jump wrong and hit a mass, you blow up, left with a floating robot unicorn head travelling down to the ground.

Getting all rainbowy with it.

Getting all rainbowy with it.

That happens a lot by the way, another part of the games easy-going nature. You start off with three lives, and you’re even warned that you will die a fiery death. And you do. A lot. But once you do, you’re quickly sent to the beginning of the line again, all ready for your next “wish,” or what they call turns. Continue playing without even a skip in the beat of the music until all three wishes are burned up and you’re left to see your score.

Get used to seeing this screen.

Get used to seeing this screen.

The game is fast, and since everything is moving so quickly and the land masses come seemingly at random, don’t expect it to be easy. I’ve played several rounds where my unicorn died almost immediately, and that was just par for the course.

Who Does This Appeal To?

You have to be a certain type of personality to enjoy this game, although I do think that many would pick it up and play just for fun. But you have to be the type of person who has a somewhat quirky sense of humor; the kind that laughs at people who fall down stairs or understands the irony in an Erasure song being used as the soundtrack to a game about flying robot unicorns with rainbow powers. In other words, Robot Unicorn Attack may not be for everyone.

The directions couldn't get any simpler.

The directions couldn't get any simpler.

But that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t give it a try. For $0.99 you get a game that’s not only fun to play, but something you can laugh at, too. The concept is just so absurd and that Erasure track playing in the background seems to amplify the fact that the game looks to take itself too seriously, but very obviously doesn’t. It’s like a hipster at a Starbucks — they hated this place before everyone else did. It’s that kind of game.

Will I Like It?

Maybe. I know that in the few days I’ve been playing this game I’ve found myself pulling the app out frequently just to burn some time. I can see how people would get bored of it, and I’m sure I will eventually as well. But I get bored with every game after a while, even the ones I walk away from shouting their praises.

So for you, I suggest you go out and buy this game. Go ahead and bounce around with robot unicorns, doing things that don’t seem that exciting, but are really quite fun in the moment. It’s probably one of my favorite games on the iPhone, and it’s almost mindless. But buy it soon, because then you can say that you hated it before everyone else did.


Summary

You're a robot unicorn, and you have to shoot rainbows to blow through stars. Sounds weird, and that's because it is.

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