As I started getting into Scram Sam
from Vir2L Studios on the iPhone/iPod Touch, the phrase “Don’t judge a book by its cover” started running through my head. When the game came up for review, the initial reaction of myself and other GN staffers was one of skepticism, or as Randy put it “It looks like Frogger replaced with a gas tank-toting white collar employee”. And while are initial reaction about the game was right to a degree, it was later run down faster than Sam trying to run away from a speeding locomotive.
The gameplay is essentially based on the Frogger model, with the objective for Sam (or Sam his floozy wife) to refill their gas can for their broken down car at the station located across multiple lanes of pure death. Each level throws some new wrinkle at you, with obstacles such as UFOs, Trains, Paddy Wagons, gas stations running dry, junk cars causing pileups and jet planes blasting you off the screen. Power ups get introduced throughout levels such as Magic Carpets, stop signs for trains and even the ability to clear all the traffic off the screen for an uninhibited return trip to your out-of-gas vehicle. Control options are either by touching in the direction you want Sam to go, or by using six buttons (located in the corners and sides of the landscape set game window) to control directionality. I originally used the touch method to direct Sam, but I found that the buttons responded much better and actually gave me more control.
There are a few things about the underlying game aspects I wanted to touch on. While it does offer an auto save/auto recovery point if you click back to the main menu, it does not offer a traditional save functionality. Therefore you either have to quit and re-launch using the auto-save or start a new game from scratch or the highest level completed. While in game, you touch the gas can to bring up the game menu, which allows you to pause, resume or exit to the main menu.
The bottom line is that Scram Sam is an enjoyable little game if you are looking to kill some time and like a challenge. I found myself hooked on trying to complete a level in order to see what new wrinkle the developers will throw at me on the next. While I enjoyed the game, I would recommend buying Scram Sam when it is at or below the $1.99 price (especially with the ebb and flow of the AppStore pricing). I would also suggest giving Scram Sam Lite a try first (the AppStore version of a demo) to make sure that the game is to your liking. Final grade from GamingNexus is a B
Scram Sam was originally released by Vir2L Studios
on Feb 23rd, 2009 and can be found on here
on iTunes. The version reviewed (current version) is v1.1 has a list price of $1.99 at the time of publish. Check out screen shots after the jump.