Mini Cannon has earned a fair amount of buzz for being the first game published under the GameSalad Accelerator program. This means that the developer, Gendai Games, created Mini Cannon using GameSalad Creator, a free program that allows for the programming of original games, using an innovative visual interface. As exciting as this is, Mini Cannon should gain notoriety simply for being a very good game. The old cliche applies: It’s easy to pick up, but hard to put down.
The object of Mini Cannon is to launch these little breath-mint-looking things into a box, using a cannon. If the projectile makes contact with each of the little cartoon stars during its flight path, then extra points are earned. As the levels progress there are more stars, fewer projectiles, and more platforms and other obstructions in the way of the box. Mini Cannon succeeds because it makes great use of a simple premise.
The controls of Mini Cannon should feel familiar to anyone who has played Angry Birds. Both games have a similar kind of physics engine, and both games involve launching projectiles from one end of the screen to the other. But unlike Angry Birds, Mini Cannon is more like a puzzle game. Often there is only way way to beat a level, and the challenge is in figuring out exactly how to use the limited number of projectiles at hand.
The look and feel of Mini Cannon is also comparable to Angry Birds, or maybe more accurately Crayon Physics Deluxe. Mini Cannon has a pleasingly cartoon-like feel to it, with lots of rounded corners and bright colors. The aesthetics are definitely simple, but not in a bad way. This game will look great on a retina display, but also pretty good on the screen of an older 3G or 3GS.
If there’s a weakness to the game, it’s that there is not a lot of visual variety between the different stages. In the 80 levels included, the puzzles are well-constructed, but the look of the platforms and obstacles changes little, and the graffiti-like background remains the same throughout the entire game. Hopefully, the developers will decide to ship continuous updates with a little more visual flair, in the vein of Angry Birds. But even if this is the final release of Mini Cannon, the gameplay is solid enough to justify it’s slim purchase price. Mini Cannon is recommended for casual gamers and fans of the ever-growing physics puzzle game genre.