Volcano Escape iPhone Review

Volcano Escape is like a bad girlfriend. It drives us nuts, and by all accounts should get lost, but we can't do the right thing and walk away, largely because of the occasional flash of brilliance when everything comes together. Sadly, those moments are few and fleeting.

This iPhone App tasks you with guiding a gun-toting soldier through an active volcano in a mad dash to avoid rising lava. You do this by traveling up the screen, using ledges, ramps, moving platforms and power-ups to get out of harm's way. You also have a gun with unlimited ammo that proves useful for killing the different types of enemies patrolling the grounds.

We'll stay right here, because these bozos represent one of Volcano Escape's more annoying issues. The lava poses such a big threat that it's tough devoting even a couple seconds to shooting bad guys. In fact, we often don't see them until it's too late.

In addition, the designers committed a huge error with the jump button, which sits a couple of inches above the shooting button, instead of directly to the right or left. First, we can't recall another App that uses this layout, and second, it sort of undermines the whole point of Volcano Escape. By putting the shooting button on the bottom, the developers suggest combat is the primary focus, which couldn't be further from the truth.

On top of that, the controls aren't reliable. The on-screen d-pad and jump button don't provide pinpoint precision, making it too easy to miss a ledge and die.

At the same time, we'll easily invest 25-40 minutes restarting levels in the desperate attempt to beat the previous high score and post the new mark to the online leaderboard. The game also has achievements, from traveling 1200 meters to killing 50 enemies. We can't deny that on some level, Volcano Escape's addictive.

That, of course, doesn't make it great. At the end of the day, the sloppy controls and other issues prevent Volcano Escape from being a must play, even at $1.99. Cut it loose.

Requirements: Compatible with iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. Requires iOS 3.0 or later.

What's Hot: Addictive, online leaderboards.

What's Not: Sloppy controls, weird button placement, enemies take away from the platform jumping.

2/5