What had you achieved by the time you were 11-years-old? For me, the year was 1999; I’d managed to kiss a girl behind the bike sheds, get into a decent secondary school, and maybe design a character or two for a comic book epic I had planned. I also had completed Zelda: Ocarina of Time without the aid of the internet, which is no mean feat I assure you, but sadly outside the scope of this review. What I hadn’t done was design an app. Granted, the word meant nothing sixteen years ago, couldn’t’ve designed one if I tried. But a bright young spark called Brayden has designed one. It’s called Dot Worlds, and it’s brand new and out now for iOS. And despite its creator being just 11, it’s pretty damn good.
So first off, a commendation for Brayden. He designed this thing from scratch. He self-taught himself all of the coding for the game, designed all the levels and managed all of the in-game graphics and logic. Fair play to you kid. The game was funded by a Kickstarter campaign, and helped along by Brayden’s Dad, Gary. But the game won’t survive on this impressive pedigree alone; how does it actually play? The gameplay is based on keeping your iPhone level and rolling a red dot around a set of predefined mazes, with the aim of reuniting him with his green pal, who sits static at the finish line.
This mechanic works really well, it’s something you notice straight off the bat. It has just the right amount of sensitivity to challenge you, yet not frustrate you. Along the mazes are obstacles of course; these vary in difficulty and size. You might have to tap a red wall out of your way with your free hand, or dodge some perilous purple diamonds that skid around the stage at crazy angles. A really cool feature is the ‘mirror ball’ aspect; on certain levels, you’ll have to deliver two balls to safety, where one is a mirror of the other and they move as one. It’s an original little feature, and it goes to show that Brayden’s put some serious thought into this.
The graphics are nothing to write home about, but then again they don’t need to be; they’re suitably childlike, and the game isn’t about flashy play anyway; the main draw lies in the addictiveness. Trust me, you’ll be playing this one again and again. If the fact that it was designed by an eleven-year-old puts you off, don’t let it. It might sound like a gimmick, but this game is the real deal, taking its rightful place as an original challenging addition in the handheld mini-game pantheon.
Slide over to the App Store and get the ball rolling with Dot Worlds today!