What happens when the stars vanish in the sky? No, it doesn't mean your town is way too polluted--well, it might mean that--it means you will have to get a ball through tricky environments, collecting stars on your way to a black hole that sucks and sucking up flags. It's a simple setup with familiar gameplay, but Little Luca manages to take familiarity and makes it feel fresh thanks to cleverly designed levels that are easy to beat and hard to master.
Little Luca is a physics-based puzzler--a popular genre on mobile devices--and, at first, seemed like it was just another generic puzzler; however, all those feelings changed about ten levels in, when the game started throwing new obstacles in the way of reaching the black hole. It is this constant addition of new obstacles and new ways of manipulating the ball that keeps the game exciting and interesting because every puzzle felt at least somewhat different, more different than just, "Oh, well, now I'm going from right to left instead of left to right."
The puzzles themselves are fun and never too difficult if all you care about is reaching the black hole; if you want to collect all three stars in a level, that's when the game gets challenging. You don't have control over the ball, instead, you control parts of the environment--such as various surfaces, patches of wind, and tractor beams--and use these parts of the environment to move the ball around a level, collecting stars (if you want) while working your way towards the black hole. I love that you don't have to collect all the stars in every level and, while you need a certain number of stars to open up the next world, the number of stars needed to open up the next world is easily obtained without even thinking about it.
I went into Little Luca thinking it would be just another physics-based puzzler that wouldn't hold my attention for long, but I went through all ninety levels across three different worlds in almost one sitting because I always felt like something new would be in the next level, and, quite often, there was. It's not a particularly long game, unless you are someone who likes collecting everything--I do wish there was a reset button always on-screen instead of being only in the pause menu so restarting a level was just a bit quicker--but, seeing that it's only a dollar, there's more than your money's worth to be found in Little Luca.
*Little Luca was reviewed on an iPad and is available now in the iTunes App Store for $0.99, as well as the Google Play store for all you Android lovers.
Little Luca (iOS Universal | $0.99)