Upward - a simple, addictive and frustrating Windows Phone game
Sometimes the simpler the game, the more enjoyable and the Windows Phone game Upward definitely qualifies as simple.
Graphics are minimal, controls basic and the goal straightforward. The challenge with Upward has you bouncing a ball up the gaming screen from pedestal to pedestal, for as far as you can. Miss an anchor point and your ball will fall to its fate and the game ends.
Sounds simple, right? Wrong. The game has a wide variety of pedestal types that can give you fits. Game play takes a gentle touch, devoted attention and patience. Otherwise, you'll find yourself struggling to get out of the single digit scores. Even with the proper gaming skills, Upward can kick your butt.
Upward lacks a proper main menu and when you launch the game you are taken directly to the gaming screen. Your ball will be bouncing, awaiting your first command. You can bounce your ball to the left or right by tapping the corresponding corners at the bottom of the gaming screen.
You bounce your ball upwards to various pedestal types and sizes. These platforms include stable anchor points to bounce off of, pedestals that shatter upon impacts, platforms that move and other nerve racking styles. They also come in a variety of sizes from those that cover half the screen to those that are just large enough for your ball to bounce off of.
Along with the pedestals, you will find a collection of moving obstacles such as a spinning wheel that you can bounce off the arms and two spinning, semi-circles where you have to bounce up the middle of. Oh and if that wasn't enough to keep you challenged, there are red boxes scattered throughout the game that will destroy your bouncing ball if it lands on them. You will find a power-up along you journey upwards that will make you immune to these boxes.
At various stages of the game, you will find a blue line that shatters when your ball hits and passes through it. This blue line is your scoring line and for each blue line you pass, one point is awarded.
The gaming environment isn't completely hostile with Upward. There are a few bonus items scattered about that will add a little boost to your jump or slow down the game to let your controls be slightly more precise.
Scoring one point is easy and accomplished somewhere along your second bounce. Reaching the second point will seem to take forever, as will any point earned afterwards. Don't be shocked if it takes you several game attempts to get to that second scoring level.
Game play is rather difficult but not in a "run from the room screaming" manner. The graphics are minimal and works well with the style of the game. Controls are basic, but can be a little on the sensitive side.
One minor issue I experienced with Upward is with the location of the ad-banner. Upward is a free, ad-supported Windows Phone game with the ad banner running along the bottom of the screen. If you are not careful, as you tap the screen to guide your ball it is easy to accidentally hit the ad banner. This will send you out of the game, which can be very frustrating, especially if you have built up a rhythm or momentum in successfully climbing the gaming screen. I get the need for ad-support, but the ad banner needs to be at the top of the screen.
All in all, Upward is a fun game to have tucked away on your Windows Phone when you are in the mood for a challenging time waster. If you give the game a try, let us know what you think of Upward in the comments below.
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George is the Reviews Editor at Windows Central, concentrating on Windows 10 PC and Mobile apps. He's been a supporter of the platform since the days of Windows CE and uses his current Windows 10 Mobile phone daily to keep up with life and enjoy a game during down time.