Games company Sega will take one look at Crazy Hedgy and probably have cause for concern. Not because the title character is a hedgehog – aside from species, he bears no resemblance to Sonic the Hedgehog. But because the core concept of tilt and roll appears to have been lifted verbatim from another of their major franchises, Super Monkey Ball. Is replacing monkeys with hedgehogs enough to keep the lawyers at bay?
How does it play?
Crazy Hedgy takes place in familiar territory, a three dimensional world with platforms in the sky, hostile wildlife, and coins, jewels and powerups aplenty. The spiky hero rolls and jumps around from platform to platform, working his way through to the end of each stage and trying to survive all the hazards thrown in his path.
The controls are built around the accelerometer of the touchscreen, requiring players to tilt the screen in the direction they want Hedgy to go. One touch buttons on the left and right also allow him to punch and jump (or double jump), respectively. It's a neat design, and the acceleromater is recalibrated at the beginning of every stage to ensure accuracy.
What's interesting about the game is the way it keeps players on their toes. Just when you think you have the measure of the proceedings, it lobs in a fresh surprise - like a new enemy-type, or a quick-time event – to throw you off balance. The quicktime events in particular are a neat touch, where Hedgy makes like Nathan Drake in the Uncharted games and narrowly avoids a hazard when you tap the right sequence of buttons.
There's a shop where you can buy power-ups and items, but this has been locked out somewhat. For some reason you need two types of currency to buy most items, both jewels and coins, so upgrading is set back until you get enough of both. We're guessing the logic is to drive you into exploring each stage completely and harvesting as much booty as you can.
Why do we like it?
Here's something else that's unusual; the villains are more appealing than the hero. Hedgy is your generic anthropomorphic thumb-waggling animal, complete with glittering smile and a sporty headband. A total cliche, in other words. The enemies, meanwhile, are these strange blobs with large eyes who make comical pratfalls when they die.
Bump one bad-guy into another, for example, and they start slapping each other. Push one into a bear-trap (yes, there are bear-traps) and he starts howling like Joe Pesci in Home Alone. Later in the game you'll encounter ninja assassins and hammer-wielding psychos, and they all behave in the same ludicrous fashion.
Crazy Hedgy is a strange game, partly derivative but mostly entertaining and fun. The obvious genre trappings will probably lower your expectations, and then your eyebrows will be raised as you experience one quirky feature after another. Sega's team of laywers will also be raising their eyebrows, but for another reason entirely, so grab the game before it gets pulled from the App Store.
Crazy Hedgy is available now on the App Store (£1.49)