Stay Alight! for iOS review: All the right elements, but not enough info

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3.5 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good Stay Alight! is a unique twist on Angry Birds type games, with good-looking graphics, excellent physics, and plenty of levels to challenge you.

The Bad With no introductions to anything, it's difficult to figure out what's going on, what the different bullet types do, and why you're building a puzzle.

The Bottom Line Despite the lack of information about several elements of the game, Stay Alight is pretty fun, with good-looking graphics, good audio, and realistic physics. With a little more info about the story and description of game elements, this could be very good game.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

7.0 Overall
  • Features and Support 5.0
  • Installation and Setup 8.0
  • Interface 8.0
  • Performance 8.0

Stay Alight! (iPhone|iPad) is a destruction game that is somewhat similar to Angry Birds, but in this game, you play as Mr. Bulb and it's your job to take out the monster microbes.

Instead of flinging objects like you would in Angry Birds, with this game you're shooting an energy projectile that bounces off walls. So to get the best trajectory and power, you'll need to both think about where your targets are and how the projectile will bounce through the level to hit as many monster microbes as possible. Like many games in this genre, you can get as high as a 3-star rating for each level, but it's unclear in my testing what determines the rating. I have used one shot to hit everything and I have used several shots to finish a level only to learn I got 3 stars for both.

As you progress, you'll get new kinds of bullets, with some that split into three separate projectiles and others that explode in a four-way shot when they run out of power. There isn't much explanation in the game for what each shot type is or why you get it, but after a few games I was able to recognize the different types of bullets by the way they looked. It would have been more fun had I known what I was shooting beforehand or any sort of introduction to new ammo. Angry Birds players will remember that each bird was introduced so you knew how to use it. Stay Alight has no such introductions.

Stay Alight has three themed worlds for a total of 60 levels and a placeholder for new worlds to come in future updates. But another element of the game that is a mystery is a puzzle you slowly build as you play. In some levels you'll see a puzzle piece that -- once your projectile passes through it -- it is added to a larger puzzle you build over time. Unfortunately, there is no introduction to the puzzle either, and I wasn't able to complete it in my testing for this review, so I'm still unsure what might happen when it is complete. I think if I knew beforehand what the goal was, I would be more inclined to see it through.

Despite all the mysteries, Stay Alight is a pretty good game. The graphics are well done, the sounds fit in with the sort of sewer-like monster microbe theme, and the physics are spot on. If the developers had added some introductions to bullet types, the puzzle element, and fleshed out the 3-star rating system, this review would have a higher rating. Still, the game will be enjoyable to fans of Angry Birds looking for something new, but just be aware that you'll be on your own in figuring out what exactly is going on as you play.

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