Simply Shallow – Felllice
For a number of years now the mobile gaming space has been a battleground of rip-offs, clones, free-to-plays, and, on occasion, games that are actually fun to play. Every creative, ambitious title has 100 forgettable throwaways, attempting to ride it’s coat tails to the big bucks. This problem is not exclusive to the mobile gaming market, but the lowered barrier of entry has certainly intensified the issue. As another week goes by we’ve bore witness to another wannabe, apathetically passing off artistic lethargy as ‘minimalism’
Meet Felllice, a game about the life of a cell. No, not a prison cell, but the organic matter that makes up every inch of our bodies. Much like a cell itself, your goal is simple; consume smaller cells whilst avoiding bigger ones. As you consume other cells, you’ll swell in size and be able to engorge the larger cells in your vicinity. When you’ve eaten everything in sight you can move on to the next level.
Controlling your cell is a matter of poking the touchscreen, sending it floating towards your finger – and this is a problem. Felllice calls for precise movement, as bumping into bigger cells causes you to cast off those you have already consumed in an agonizing shower. Unfortunately, the control scheme is completely at odds with this principle. Just like you, other cells can move, meaning that taps must be pinpoint accurate and timed to perfection, anything else will see you lose all of the progress you’ve made in that level. Dragging your cell across the screen with a prolonged swipe would not only have been precise, but would have immeasurably enhanced the experience.
Sadly, the poor controls are a real sticking point, making Felllice a chore to play, but that’s not our only problem. Visually, the game is lazy, very lazy. It doesn’t even qualify as minimalistic. You’ll be subjected to a variety of black circles, of different sizes, on a white background on over 25 levels (!). In the age of free software and online art tutorials Felllice’s visuals just aren’t acceptable.
By this point you’re probably thinking to yourself that Fellice sounds somewhat familiar. That’s probably because it bears a striking thematic resemblance to Osmos – a game of exponentially higher quality. Both games see you consuming other cells to become bigger, and the dominant force in the level, besides that there is no comparison. In the one hand, Osmos brims with quality, beautiful visuals, and well thought out gameplay. The other hand holds Felllice, a game devoid of its own ideas, cynically cloning Osmos’ core concept in an effort to part unsuspecting fans from their money.