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For all of its stylistic variety and myriad pixel art offerings, it’s hard to find something on the App Store that looks quite like Lost Yeti. Its retro-chic aesthetic is a throwback to an era long before mobile titles, when game development was less diversified and often nearly singular in its source. More to the point, Lost Yeti is at a glance undeniably adorable – you could almost picture it as a tiny store of cutesy trinkets nestled away in some little corner of a bustling Tokyo shopping district. Beyond its looks, each level is like a small piece of candy within a larger box.
It isn’t Japanese, but unlike most games invoking that kind of 16-bit aesthetic, Lost Yeti feels and even sounds as though Nintendo itself had originally released this action-puzzler alongside the likes of Tetris Attack or Kirby’s Dream Land 3. It’s certainly sugary enough, with the cheery yeti waving hello before you send him on his way towards the goal of each compact level. Taking a page from the puzzle classic Lemmings, you don’t actually control the creature in Lost Yeti, and therein lies the challenge.
Apart from having to angle the little guy in the right direction (he only makes clockwise turns when hitting a barrier), you’ll need to slide certain sections of a level – including obstacles – on their x- or y-axes to guide him, with the caveat that you can’t slide a row or column if it’s occupied by anything living. Having to rearrange path layouts on the fly takes more than lateral thinking. You’re quickly forced into splitting your brain between both guiding your yeti and avoiding hazards or enemies within the same space in real time, even as the clever mechanics ramp in complexity. And collecting each level’s scattered popsicles just adds another layer.
Despite the often-tricky difficulty, it’s tough not to be charmed by Lost Yeti. The bright color palette and roughly half-a-minute-long puzzles means there’s always a new delicious flavor to sample next – though like sweets, you may run out of levels quickly.
The bottom line. Lost Yeti’s throwback aesthetic and charming puzzles are a Super Nintendo-lover’s sugarcoated dream come true.
iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch running iOS 4.3 or later
Thoughtful design requires both lateral thinking and real-time obstacle management. Adorable art, sound design, and music. Feels like a Super Nintendo game in the best way possible.
It’s tough to split your brain between different sliding sections. Short levels mean you can blow through the game quickly. Some puzzles are too breezy.