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Your challenge is simple: fly a wedge-shaped spaceship around an orange slice of space, collecting circular coins. All you need to do is grab 15, and each successful pick-up increments a circular score indicator at the center of the screen. How hard could that be? The twist is that your actions are cloned and represented on screen by an increasingly large robotic swarm of black ships. Collide with one of your echoes and it’s game over.
Fail at 14 coins and you at least earn a cheekily named achievement, thereby stopping you from yelling at your device about the inhumanity of it all. Actually, that’s fairly unlikely to occur, because 15 Coins on its easiest difficulty isn’t all that tough. With the assistance of freeze squares, you can obliterate temporarily stationary clones; therefore, with some savvy flying and a modicum of arcade smarts, a reasonably adept gamer will have beaten 15 Coins within about 20 minutes.
Two options then remain available: grab the coins more quickly and thereby climb the Game Center leaderboards, or venture towards a tougher difficulty level. At that point, the game starts to unravel. On the fastest speed especially, 15 Coins feels like trying to coax a drunken fly to do your bidding, as the ship jerks around the screen in tiny arcs; neither the touch nor tilt controls felt tight enough for our liking.
With some titles of this ilk, a game throwing down the gauntlet sometimes makes us all the more determined to continue and give it a slap. Here, though, we felt oddly satisfied when we’d collected our 15 coins on the slowest mode and made a decent stab at doing so on the faster ones. It was more a conclusion than a comma. There was also a nagging sense we could be playing other (and better) titles instead: the more varied Don’t Shoot Yourself!, avoid-’em-up classic Bit Pilot, or the wonderful and demanding trio that is Super Hexagon, Impossible Road, and Boson X.
That’s not to say 15 Coins isn’t worthy of consideration—it’s sweet, simple, and quite fun—but it’s very much a title that will make you smile and gnash for a few hours over a few days, rather than one that will remain forever welded to your Home screen.
The bottom line. A minimal, fairly effective, and initially compelling arcade experience that lacks the depth and pulling power to keep it around for the long haul. Still, it’s worth a look for a buck or two.
iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch running iOS 4.3 or later
Great sense of visual design. Jolly music. Initially compelling. Can be thrilling when trying for that 15th coin.
No clone-freeze indicator. Controls feel iffy at higher speeds. Didn’t keep us coming back for very long.