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Get your caveman on with Feast or Famine

A new app from first-time developer X4 Games sees you pitting your human wits against the natural world for survival.

A new app from first-time developer X4 Games sees you pitting your human wits against the natural world for survival.

(Credit: X4 Games)

The first thing we noticed about Feast or Famine by new developer X4 Games was the art. It's fair to say that there aren't many games based on primitive cave art out there; and, after having such a good experience with Sun Stones, we were immediately intrigued.

It was something the developers thought out carefully. 4X CEO Conrad Schmidt told CNET Australia, "I am fascinated by cave paintings and what they can tell us about a time difficult to imagine. In our case, this boils down to a colourful textured universe for Glyph to run, jump and throw."

(Credit: X4 Games)

You play the role of Glyph, a little cave painting who comes to life, with a family of little paint smears (maybe; we're not sure what a baby cave painting looks like) to feed on the Neolithic painted animals that roam the landscape.

The game plays out as a 2D side-scroller, primitive drums a-beating, with you throwing your spears, while jumping obstacles and swinging on vines, to kill your prey — leaping bison and flying birds — and collect the meat. There are two meters: your health, which is dependent on how many animals you kill, and therefore how much meat you collect; and your spears, which deplete as you throw them, but return over time.

It's not as difficult as it sounds. Although the animals move around a fair bit, holding down on the left side of the screen stops time, allowing you to aim carefully. That doesn't mean you'll hit every animal, though, since you still have to gauge which direction it's going, and then try to extrapolate its position against the arc of your weapon. Add to that the right-hand control, which is your jumping and swinging, and it gets tricky — but the game remains a good, casual experience that's still challenging without being teeth-grindingly frustrating.

(Credit: X4 Games)

We also like that the game includes little upgrades for Glyph to shake it up a bit — a dodo (that looks a little like a Chocobo) to ride, and upgraded weapons, such as rocks, boomerangs and even ray guns, to chuck at your feisty, feasty foes. You can purchase these with bones, which are obtained by reaching the star targets of each level, or by purchasing in-app, for what we have to say are some very reasonable pricing tiers.

Schmidt told us, "We use the Unity Engine for this project, and can't wait to spread our wings now that we have a viable development process. Our inspiration also comes from a fascination for video games, and how mobile is transforming the industry. We hope to speak more on this as we gain recognition. It's a wonderful horizon for gamers, artists, programmers and musicians."

Feast or Famine strikes a great balance, and we'll definitely be keeping our eye out for further developments from X4 Games.

Feast or Famine for iOS (AU$0.99)