TouchArcade Game of the Week: ‘Early Worm’

The idea behind the TouchArcade Game of the Week is that every Friday afternoon we post the one game that came out this week that we think is worth giving a special nod to. Now, before anyone goes over-thinking this, it doesn’t necessarily mean our Game of the Week pick is the highest scoring game in a review, the game with the best graphics, or really any other quantifiable “best” thing. Instead, it’s more just us picking out the single game out of the week’s releases that we think is the most noteworthy, surprising, interesting, or really any other hard to describe quality that makes it worth having if you were just going to pick up one.

These picks might be controversial, and that’s OK. If you disagree with what we’ve chosen, let’s try to use the comments of these articles to have conversations about what game is your game of the week and why.

Without further ado…


Early Worm

I’m not afraid to admit I’m an Oddrok fanboy. I’ve been a fan of all their mobile games over the years, and there’s something just so pleasing about their signature aesthetic and their ability to create games where even the tiniest of details are polished to a sheen. So when Oddrok tries their hand at one of mobile gaming’s most oversaturated genres, the dreaded physics puzzler, I’m very interested in seeing the results. In this particular case the result is a game called Early Worm (Free), and it seems that Oddrok has done it once again.

When I say physics puzzlers are an oversaturated genre on mobile, I mean that there was a point when new ones would make me physically sick to my stomach. It’s not totally fair though, because it’s a genre that is pretty perfectly suited to mobile. Well as it turns out I’ve been actively avoiding physics puzzlers for such a long time now that playing through a new one here in the year 2020 is actually a very refreshing experience.

Early Worm is an extremely straightforward game. Use slingshot mechanics to pull back and sling your worm around each level until you’re able to capture the apple. That’s it. It plays in portrait mode, and is easily controlled with one thumb while holding your device with one hand. I LOVE games like that. All of the game’s variety comes in the form of different mechanics that are introduced as you work your way through each level and the game’s physics system.

There are walls you can stick to to climb, mushrooms that will bounce you high, platforms that you can knock into and move around. It seems like every two or three levels there’s some new mechanic being introduced, and the real joy in Early Worm is just kicking back and chewing on the best method to get through all of the obstacles and to the apple in as few moves as possible. There’s the standard 3-star scoring mechanic based on how many moves you use, naturally.

That’s all there is to it. The game is free with ads and an IAP to disable them, but other than that there is none of the typical free to play trappings that have permeated this genre before. It’s just you, your brain, and the sometimes random physics engine up against 80 different levels to complete. There’s something just so satisfying about a game that’s this straightforward and devoid of clutter, and of course it’s all wrapped up in Oddrok’s incredible level of detail and polish. It feels like it’s 2010 and I’m playing the original Cut the Rope all over again.

So if you’re like me and suffered from physics puzzler burnout, give Early Worm a shot and see if a developer putting this kind of care and consideration into the experience can make you a fan once again.

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