Have you ever imagined being the very image of death, the Grim Reaper of souls, collecting souls with your Scythe and inspiring fear as the very visage of death? Well, now you can, with the minor addition that you’re less evil, and more silly.
Jake the Reaper is a new arcade style swiper from Grand Unified LLC, in which you train Jake, an intern reaper, in order to take over for you while you’re on vacation. Jake the Reaper takes you through three different settings. An underwater one, where scientists and tourists duke it off beneath the waves, a field of warring samurai, and a carnival ride that seems to be somewhat unstable.
There are 3 more settings, one in 19th century London, as a crew tries to clean a large clock mechanism, one based on the famous scurvy victims of the 18th century, and the last setting in New York, as Jake collects the souls of unfortunate skyscraper window washers. These settings however, are an in-app purchase, as an expansion pack for the game.
As a classic swiping game, Jake the Reaper is quite a bit more strategic than others, forcing you to decide which of the souls you’re better off swiping, as you may be able to get a combo by ignoring the closer, easier target. The gameplay on each level starts slow, increasing in speed, until the decision making process becomes essential.
Besides deciding which souls you should be swiping, you have to take great care to not swipe living people, as that will eventually lead to Jake taking a nap (ergo not responding to commands). Bonuses of different sorts (double points, more time, etc.) show up from time to time, and it’s a very good idea to pick these up, as they can boost your score significantly. There are 5 types of game mode: Normal, Countdown, Race to 50, Race to 100 and Infinite (for the true gamers out there).
The game itself truly shines when it comes to the atmosphere it creates. The music and sound effects are particularly good, and I actually found myself simply enjoying the music in the menu page at one point during the day. A lot of effort obviously went into the graphics part as well, with different swipes in different areas (over trees, underwater) create different effects.
The one single negative point of the game that I could find was that most swiping games involve large targets, making life easier on the eyes. Personally, I played the game on an iPod Touch, and as such, the very small models are hard to see and to target at times.
Obviously, as expected, the game also has Game Center integration, but also has local high scores.