Who'd have thought that one of the most popular puzzle games of all time would turn out to be based entirely around saving the skin, literally, of a cute-looking citrus fruit? Probably the same person that predicted the popularity of Plants Vs. Zombies and Angry Birds, but that's besides the point. Cover Orange has gone from strength to strength with its rather unique brand of orange-based, physics-adhering puzzles, always keeping the quality high and the players on their figurative toes with increasingly difficult and consistently varied quandaries that you must solve. Though the original Cover Orange was for iOS, the game's come a long way since this release and you can even play various iterations of the game for free in your browser. Cover Orange Journey Wild West is one such game, and it's got a whole load of continuity to offer long-term fans of the series.
At the heart of Cover Orange: Journey Wildwest is the same format that we've come to love. The game involves playing through a series of puzzles that are heavily steeped in the laws of physics, in fact entirely so. The premise of Cover Orange is where it deviates from hugely popular rivals such as Angry Birds and Cut the Rope - the aim is to utilise the tools you have available to you in order to ensure that your orange or oranges aren't harmed when the nasty and mischievous cloud passes overhead, dropping harmful drops of rain that oranges simply hate as it goes by.
The mechanics of the game can be divided into two distinct phases: the preparation phase, which involves you placing your orange and manipulating the environment around you in order to protect your orange, and the "fingers crossed" phase, which is the moment the cloud begins its passage across the top of the screen. By this time it's too late to do anything but watch and hope that not one single drop of the harmful rain gets through to any of your oranges.
It may sound like an unusual premise but it's actually quite a genius concept when you think of it. It's got all of the hallmarks of a classic physics game but with an original premise to inject uniqueness into the proceedings as well. You'll spend most of your time figuring out just how you're going to cover up your orange or oranges by the time the vengeful cloud passes by. Most of the time a solution presents itself but the puzzles aren't going to solve themselves: you must use a bit of your own logic and problem solving in order to come up with a solution that works. Whether this means blowing up a piece of dynamite to blow pieces of protective wood into place of your orange or dropping your orange in a place you wouldn't initially have thought to be safe is up to you .
The puzzles in Cover Orange: Journey Wildwest are varied enough and there also enough of them (24 in total) to keep you entertained for quite some time. They may start off as simple puzzles but the further you get into the game the more your problem solving skills will be challenged as more and more variables are introduced into the equation, making it much more difficult for your to adequately protect your oranges.
Another factor that should challenge you is that instead of being able to place items at will you must place/use them in the order they are given to you. If this means having to place several barrels or wheels down before even getting to position your oranges then this is what you have to do. This forces you to be even more inventive in your approach and doesn't allow you to cheat your way through levels with one-off solutions that would only work a small percentage of the time. You do get somewhat of a reprieve however, in the form of the option to use up to three "helmets", which are essentially skip-a-level passes that allow you to move on to the next puzzle if the current one has you stumped.
Aside from its format, what sets apart Cover Orange as a series is its aesthetics. Its design is quite beautiful when you really look at it, creating a bright and vibrant atmosphere as you play through the levels. Adding human features to most of the objects (even the bombs and dynamite you use have faces) also adds to the cuteness factor of the game and will only broaden its appeal. The wild west theme is essentially a superficial inclusion in order to differentiate the game visually from the original, but it's a pleasant deviation nonetheless. Cover Orange: Journey Wildwest is most definitely a great alternative to the repetitive nature of Angry Birds, a franchise that has become so ubiquitous that its appeal has diminished considerably over the years.
Bebop Rating: 8.4/10