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Daily iPad App: Super Crate Box

Super Crate Box appeared on iOS today (even though it's already packed with players), and I'm willing to say that it's the first great game of 2012. Especially on the iPad, where the virtual controls are a little bigger and the graphics are a little easier to see, this is a really slick and well-done arcade platformer. Sure, has its moments of frustration, but stays addictive throughout.

The game's been available as a PC download from developer Vlambeer for a little while already, but I think it works better as an iOS game. To play, you run around a one-screen 2D level trying to collect as many crates as you can, while avoiding enemies who resemble surreal skulls. The action is fast and crazy, as just one hit will kill your character and end your game. But that frenetic, temporary action works -- games are short and fast enough that even when one ends, you're usually ready to jump back in for another one right away.

The only other issue is with the virtual controls. Super Crate Box just begs for an old-school NES-style controller with every part of its being. Unfortunately iOS only offers the touch screen. It works well enough, but every once in a while, you'll miss a jump or a shot just because you couldn't find the little button area on the iPad's glass. That's not really the developers' fault, in my estimation, but man is it frustrating, especially when you are rolling along to what you're sure is a high score.

All of that said, Super Crate Box is an excellent little game, with crisp, frenetic gameplay and more depth than it should really have. Game Center integration, leaderboards, and some really excellent chiptune music all pad out the package -- the app is available in a universal version right now for just 99 cents.

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