Just in time for Earth Day, April 22, Rock Out Apps has launched its first game on iTunes: Slippery Seal, which looks to combine level-based gameplay with educational content about the world of seals and other ocean critters. Holding your device horizontally, gameplay sees you controlling Slippery Seal by touching and "drawing" your finger across the left side of the screen to help him swim through underwater tunnels, do flips in midair and more, all the while claiming Clams and points for your score.
Each level has a time limit, and a minimum amount of Clams that must be eaten (or points that must be earned) within that time frame. You'll face multiple obstacles along the way, mostly in the form of enemy animals like Blowfish, Orcas, Jellyfish and even Sharks. As you collect Clams, you'll gain "ammunition" in the form of Pearls that can be spit at these enemies to either stun them or eliminate them entirely, adding to your score, which can then be shared with friends via Game Center or Facebook.
While the gameplay setup is fine, this initial version of the game comes with some poor controls, as drawing your finger around the screen doesn't add up to a 1 to 1 movement response from Slippery. Instead, these slight changes in direction from you (all that the game tells you it requires) will normally cause Slippery to crash headfirst into a wall or enemy, or at the very least cause you to go in a direction that you didn't intend, therefore wasting time as you try to correct your mistake. As a result, shooting enemies is also difficult, as you may try and aim at an enemy only to have Slippery jerk to the side and shoot the other way.
Furthermore, the educational content in Slippery Seal is rather hidden, relegated to the "How to Play" section of the menu. It's still there, mind you, but most young players will likely skip right by it in order to start playing the game. Each level has a different geographical location, with backgrounds that are themed appropriately (the Golden Gate Bridge shows up when swimming near San Francisco, for instance), but the game's unintentional difficulty will likely mean that you'll spend too much time frantically trying to control Slippery's movements, rather than enjoying that view.
While Slippery Seal comes with a normal purchase price of $1.99, you can pick it up for $0.99 this weekend in honor of Earth Day.
Click here to download Slippery Seal on iTunes --->
Do you wish more games offered educational content for kids, or is it only the gameplay that counts? Sound off in the comments.