Do our eyes deceive us? Has SEGA developed a game that doesn't feature a certain blue‐hued, spiky‐bodied little mascot?
Incredible as it seems, this is a relatively new property from the Japanese games giant, and it's startlingly original. And cute. And whacky. If you have any pint‐sized gamers in your household, you'll want to investigate this one.
How's the gameplay?
Adapted from a 2009 arcade game of the same name, Brick People is about stacking up LEGO‐style blocks so the eponymous critters can scramble up and snack on food which is tantalisingly out of reach.
The original version actually required players to physically stack sponge bricks against a large screen, and the game would react accordingly. Fortunately, the iOS version doesn't ask you to do this, relying instead on a drag‐and‐drop mechanic to move the bricks around the screen.
You don't have any direct control over the indescribably cute Brick Folk, they just amble along at their own speed, a bit like those famous Lemmings. You simply lay blocks in their path to guide them towards dinner, and cooing noises are made entirely at your own discretion.
A smidgeon of high‐stakes are added to the mix by having you race against the clock, with the countdown timer carried over from mission to mission. Success is measured in terms of how far you can proceed through the game on a single timer (although there are an infinite number of continues, natch).
There's a few variances in play – bonus rounds, or items that have to be collected in a particular order – and a two‐player mode where you can compete against a friend on the same device or wirelessly. But overall, the challenge of the game is simple to the point of idiocy.
Why do we like it?
We're not going to lie to you, the gameplay is a bit repetitive. It's probably only a thirty‐minute time sink before you drop it and move on. But Brick People is still worth checking out for a product design that's utterly unique and beguilingly quirky.
Also, if you have kids, then they're going to love it. The game has enough charm and charisma to keep them engaged for a good while longer, thanks to the the bright 'n breezy graphics and a soundtrack that travels all the way from effervescent to ebullient and back again.
Those cute‐little Brick Folk, they even have brick‐shaped noses. Which leads one to muse about the likelihood of brick‐shaped bogies, but maybe we're getting off the subject a little. It's a pity the game itself doesn't have the same sticky quality, but overall it's a brave experiment by SEGA.
Brick People starts at £1.49 on the iTunes App Store and is available for iPhone and iPad. [iTunes]