Game Info:

Leaf Catcher
Released: May 16, 2011
ESRB Rating: N/A
Available On: Android, PC
Genre: puzzle
Number of Players: single player
Price: $1.00

Thank you Frozen City for sending us Leaf Catcher for review.

Leaf Catcher is a simple game with a simple premise - catch the red leaves as they fall so you can complete the assignment your schoolteacher gave you for a science project. However, if you catch a green leaf, the rest are damaged, so you have to gather more red ones. Be careful, and get a good grade!

This game is played holding your phone in portrait mode. Leaves fall from the top of the screen in various swooping patterns, and your character, Mew, moves left to right by tilting your phone to catch them in his basket. The faster you tilt, the faster he moves. If you tilt quickly enough, he does move pretty fast, within a reasonable limit. One thing that surprised me is that if any part of the basket that Mew holds touches the leaf, you catch it, even if you touch it with the side. This definitely cuts both ways, as green leaves can accidentally land in your basket where you didn't mean for them to.

Story mode is where the bulk of the game is played. There are four stages, and five levels each stage. Each level in a stage gets progressively harder, and there are enemies like animals, or even aliens, who show up trying to compete for your leaves. When they catch one, they don't only take what you wanted to catch, but also take from your total for that level, so be quick to stomp them out! You get rid of them by touching them on the screen. It was a little bit frustrating though as it seemed like you always had to double tap the enemies for them to truly disappear, as one tap didn't always take care of it. As you progress, other elements are introduced, like falling clocks, which can help quite a bit if you need more time to catch the number of leaves needed to pass the level.

Strong points: Simple game play
Weak points: Short; frustrating until you get the hang of it, and then it's easy
Moral warnings: None!

As you near the end of the story mode, you eventually unlock a shop that sells cheats that drastically simplify the game, which makes beating it much easier. There is also a quick play mode where you simply catch as many leaves as you can until the time runs out, which means game over. Like the later story mode levels, you can catch clocks in the level which can extend the time you have. The game randomly generates what falls next, so there is no guarantee that clocks will fall when you need it.

Graphically, Leaf Catcher is made of simple, hand drawn graphics that are fairly nice, but not exceptional. If there were animations when Mew moved around, or frames of animation while leaves drifted, instead of simply moving a sprite, it would go a long way towards making the talented artwork much more appealing.

Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 62%
Gameplay 10/20
Graphics 6/10
Sound/Music 7/10
Stability/Polish 4/5
Controls/Interface 4/5

Morality Score - 100%
Violence - 10/10
Language - 10/10
Sexual Content - 10/10
Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

The sound effects are pretty basic and unremarkable. The leaves crunch when caught in a louder than expected way, but sound recognizably like crunching leaves. This sound effect is also reused for the menu in a few places. The music is a bit better with it's pleasant sounding midi-synth. Not something I'll go out of my way to listen to, but pleasant.

Leaf Catcher is a rather simple game. I found the first few levels difficult, but once I got the hang of it, the rest of the game came easily. It's also perfectly appropriate; there's nothing about the content to complain about here. It's a simple, mildly entertaining game that picked up a bit once I got to the later levels, but overall I don't think I put more than two or so hours total and I have seen all there is to see. At ninety-nine cents, it's a fair value, though on Android there is quite a bit of competition at that price, or even less.

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