Navigate Nigel for iPad is a slightly confusing game, and feels like it has been released far too early in its development cycle. The basic game structure and gameplay is sound, and I like the whole concept, but an immensely critical lack of levels holds this one back.
The game is, as I have said, built upon some solid foundations. Playing a lot like Chu Chu Rocket!, you must place directional arrows on the the ground to guide the titular Nigel, a cow, to the exit flag. Nigel will keep walking forwards automatically until he either hits an obstacle or an arrow, so placing the arrows in the correct position is paramount, especially as you only get a set amount of arrows to play with on each stage. Planning is everything, especially on the ‘Race’ levels where you have to get to the flag before a tractor.
Once you get the basic idea and hang of the game, you will start to fly through the levels; and that is where the big problem rises its head. There are only ten levels in this game. Ten single screened levels that provide way less than an hour’s worth of entertainment. I will say that if you have never played a game like this before or are very young, then you could squeeze an hour out of this, but if like me you have played games like this many times before then you will probably be playing through the 10th level after 15 minutes of play.
Now, there are more levels promised in the future, but I have to review this based on what is in the game now. To charge 99c for what should really be a free demo is not good. To put it bluntly, I would expect levels to number in their hundreds for this type of game, with at least 50 offered for free. Take a look at a similar indie game, Crazy Horses Matchmaker Lite for what you can get for free.
Compounding the issue is the lack of Game Center or OpenFient integration, or anything that would give you a reason to return to the levels after completion.
It is a pity, as the game does have some potential. I liked the character designs and the simple but bright looking levels, and the stages that are here are well designed and fun, and tapping the cow’s nose to change colour is a nice touch. If this had an appropriate level of content for the price, I would be scoring this in the low 80’s, so you can see from the score below how critical I believe the issue of the 10 stages is.
With a lot of potential, Navigate Nigel ends up providing entertainment that can be measured in minutes instead of hours. They will be fun and interesting minutes, as the game has some nice ideas and well designed stages, but I am afraid I just can’t recommend the game with its current price to stages ratio.
Lets hope that the developer can add a whole bunch of levels to this initial release and fulfill Nigel the cow’s potential.