The legitimacy of touchscreens as gaming input devices remains somewhat controversial. Sure, they work well for simple games like endless runners, but games which require pixel-precision, such as platformers or FPSes, are still in a grey area. There are, of course, more than a few such games who have managed to pull off touchscreen control just fine, and They Need To Be Fed is but one such example.
The games form a trilogy which encapsulates standard 2D platforming affairs, but with a very simple twist: gravity as we know it functions differently. Rather than falling downward like a stone, your character is instead attracted to the various platforms that populate the playing field. Not only that, but the platforms are often spherical or oblong, allowing players to pull off jumps and dodges from any point in 360 degrees. This adds a surprising amount of freshness to the standard platforming formula and is very easy to get used to.
“…the whole “getting eaten by a monster” thing is actually the point of the games. Yes, really.”
The levels themselves (of which there are hundreds, including secret ones) are short, simple obstacle courses which grow in complexity and difficultly as new challenges and enemies are introduced. Diamonds appear in the courses and obtaining them is key to unlocking new worlds. At first, nabbing them is a snap, but before long you’ll need to explore and pull off some masterful jumping to get to them.
The graphics and sound are cute, minimal affairs that are perfectly executed. The visuals are simple and clean and each world has a distinctive colour scheme and pattern that make it fresh and interesting without overloading the senses. The music is fun and cheerful, though not varied; still, it compliments the sounds well, especially when you get eaten by a monster at the end of each level and the crunching sounds curiously like a potato chip being devoured. By the way, the whole “getting eaten by a monster” thing is actually the point of the games. Yes, really.
The games can be found via iTunes and Google Play (you’ll find the second game here and the third this way). If you prefer to eschew the mobile aspect entirely, you can play a browser-based demo yonder. The best news of all is that the developer is working to port the titles to Steam as one massive smorgasbord of gravity-defying goodness called They Need To Be Fed – Ultimate. Check out the Steam Greenlight page and download the demo hereabouts.