In a quiet shadowy street sits a mysterious bearded man with an intricate box. It is a game, of sorts. Would you like to play? Thus begins Help Volty, a beautifully atmospheric arcade avoidance game with puzzle elements for iPad by Tvundra Games. And of course you want to play. Why else would you be standing around in a shadowy street with a mysterious man?
Insert a coin to begin, and you'll meet your companion, a steam-punky little beetle named Volty. He is so named because he conducts electricity, which is an essential component in each puzzle. Tap and hold to make Volty walk toward your finger. He'll stop walking once you've lifted your finger. Tap or hold the red button on his back to pulse with electricity. On many levels the goal is to charge up a light using Volty's electricity, which in turn opens a door. How you go about that varies greatly. After each level you pass, you'll receive three coins specially marked for then next level. You'll need to insert one coin to continue. Unfortunately this means if you are unable to figure out the trick to the level within three turns, you'll have to go back to the previous level to earn some more coins. You'll make more electric friends along the way, which are essential to passing some rooms.
Volty could possibly be the most loveable bug since the roach on Wall-E. You will discover many different mechanical enemies you must avoid, all while figuring out how to escape to the next room. The downside is the short length of the game and the lack of a back story. I don't mind being dropped into the middle of the story as long as things are revealed along the way. But you don't get that in Help Volty. You will be left wondering why it was so important to get the little insect out of the box, and why he was imprisoned there in the first place. However the clever puzzles, beautiful music, and gorgeous atmosphere help make up for that. Now consider this: The next time you meet a stranger in an alley, perhaps you should just grab the box and make a run for it.
NOTE: This game was played and reviewed on the iPad 2. Game was available in the North American market at the time of publication, but may not be available in other territories. Please see individual app market pages for purchasing info.