Thinking Just A Bit Too Much About An iPad Game

I try not to throw around the phrase “I’m addicted to…” lightly, but I’ve got to admit – I might be a teensy, weensy, little bit addicted to Whale Trail.

You don't this far by playing for five minutes here and there.

You don’t this far by playing for five minutes here and there.

It’s also, incidentally, very good for procrastination. Why yes, I am writing this at 10pm the day it’s due, why do you ask?

But all jokes about my awful work ethic aside, I’ve been really impressed by this app; it’s great for kids, but still keeps me very interested and is surprisingly strategic.

In case you’re wondering what this game’s actually about, it’s a flying whale collecting food and getting electrocuted by clouds. There also seem to be some sort of demi-gods and maybe drugs, but hey, it’s a flying whale, what do you really expect?

At it’s most basic form, this is very similar to a bunch of other games: use your finger to go up, release to go down, avoid obstacles. Easy, right?

It's also so cutesy that I'm surprised there are no unicorns

It’s also so cutesy that I’m surprised there are no unicorns

There’s also a few other things going on for anyone playing obsessively paying attention to notice. The bubbles fill up your “whale trail”, and if your trail is empty, you die. The bubbles also contribute to your score which is directly proportional to the amount of currency you get at the end of the game (the game’s currency is called krill because all sense of reality is entirely out the door at this point).

But, of course, just collecting bubbles would be easy. You have to avoid the clouds that shock you and take away some of your whale trail if you touch them.

You may also notice the stars in that image. If you collect 7 (they even show up in rainbow order and hover around you to make your progress easy to track)  you go into frenzy, popping clouds instead of being shocked and releasing a blast at the end of your frenzy that pops all the clouds around you and gives you points.

I'm guessing that the stars represent whatever the creator of this app was on

I’m guessing that the stars represent whatever the creator of this app was on

If you make it far enough, the benevolent gods of the world appear, offering up bubbles to refill your trail and a powerup to use in your next game.

 

It's not encouraging that it looks shocked you even made it this far

It’s not encouraging that it looks shocked you even made it this far

There’s one of these after each stage and it should not surprise you at this point to learn that they go in rainbow order and get increasingly odd.

All come with different sounds, including but not limited to hysterical laughing, a sputtering truck, and a choir singing.

If you get through the whole rainbow it just starts over again, which I found rather anticlimactic. Oh, and I also forgot that there’s this monstrosity waiting for you whenever you die.

Please note that we can’t see the rest of his tentacles, and that he’s grinning just a little too much. 

Even with all the craziness, there is still a good amount of strategy in this game. It’s all split second decisions; go for more bubbles to fill up your trail, or try to grab another star toward frenzy? Use one of your limited powerups, or try to hold on to life long enough to get to the bubbles at the end of the level?

But honestly, the thing I find most interesting about this game is that it got made. I really wish I could see what that pitch meeting looked like.

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