Living with an allergy is a downer. But for one little pig, his constant sneezing turns out to be a blessing in disguise when he discovered that the monsters invading his village actually like eating his snot! Eww?
Don't worry, though. Even if the plot sounds a bit gross, Gesundheit! is really far from that. In fact, it's a charming game that gets you coming back for more snotty goodness.
Ready, Aim, Snot!
Each level in Gesundheit! is laid out in one screen. Buildings and bushes form mazes for you to navigate, but beware of the monsters lying in wait: if they see you, they will come running to eat you. What you want to do is lure these monsters, using your snot, into the traps that are also found within the maze, effectively eliminating them. This plan requires strategy and stealth, and you will often find yourself hiding behind bushes or bouncing snot off walls to distract a monster.
As the game progresses, more elements like gates and teleport portals appear to keep you on your toes. There are also new environmental features that give you power-ups, such as flower beds that allow you to produce super elastic snot, and grass patches that make you sneeze elastic strands of goo.
The monsters also grow in variety and numbers as you go further. In addition to red monsters, you will find blue monsters that are stronger and faster, mosquito-like monsters that can fly over buildings and water, and blind bunny-like monsters that are extra-sensitive to movements. These unique opponents really force you to come up with strategies to solve each level.
As if that is not challenging enough, you need to collect three star fruits before trapping the last monster. These fruits are quite fragile, and can be crushed by trampling monsters or a blob of snot flung their way. It's worth trying to collect these fruits as they allow you to unlock more levels and achievements.
The game controls are simple. To move the pig, you simply tap on the screen where you want him to go. To launch a snot ball, tap and pull back like a slingshot. The game shows a dotted line to tell you where the blob would go, so you won't be shooting blind. It is also possible to zoom in and zoom out, which helps a lot if you need extra precision when shooting.
There is a twist, however. Holding a shot for too long will cause the pig to run out of air and turn black. If you don't release the snot at once, it will explode in his face. I think this is an amusing detail that adds to the quirkiness of the game.
Adding to the wonderful gaming experience is the lovely artwork that makes me feel as if I'm playing in a children's storybook. The recorder music is also really cute and memorable - my boyfriend has admitted hearing the ominous "game over" music in his sleep after playing the game for a while. (If you're interested, the Gesundheit! Soundtrack EP, composed by Matt Hammill himself, is also available for sale.)
Things I Like
Gesundheit! is one of those gems in the App Store that everyone should get their hands on. It's an incredibly polished game with simple controls, mind-bending puzzles, appealing graphics and cute music.
The game deceives you in a good way: it seems easy at first but really forces you to rack your brain to solve it. Some levels can be really frustrating, so I think even the most hardcore of puzzler fans will find some challenge playing this game.
Also, the storyline is incredibly quirky and humorous. Sure, feeding snot to monsters seem gross at first, but that is part of the game's charm.
Two words: get it. If you love stealthy puzzlers, you will love Gesundheit! It's a really charming game with a solid gameplay and amazing audio visual. Personally, I think this one deserves to be played on Retina screens, so get the HD version if you can.