"We constantly have to revisit 'Why would Donkey Kong do this?' or 'Why would this environment be like this?' And then we start thinking: 'We're making a game about a gorilla wearing a tie.'"
-Michael Kelbaugh of Retro Studios on Donkey Kong Country Returns
"I have to say it's kinda scary how much you know about this game."
-Nicolau Chaud creator of Marvel Brothel
PerlMania is a hard sell on start up. There is no tutorial for the control scheme, which isn't difficult but unique enough to warrant a tutorial. The lack of tutorial is a big enough issue as all aspects of the game, including the main menu, follow a physics based formula that for those that don't care enough to learn will blow the game off. That is unfortunate as it does have some things going for it.
The puzzles are played by shooting cute balls or "perls" into portals. These may be cat perls or perls with eye patches, but every puzzle has you shoot 1 or more of these perls at a target with a bright red bomb perl. the stages then set up obstacles and you have to figure out how to shoot around them. Levels start out zoomed in, but once you figure out that you can zoom out with the triggers its just a matter of finding the best way in the circle.
The best thing going for PerlMania is its presentation. While the initial loading screen is fairly bland, the levels are creatively designed with focus on how the level looks as well as works. The audio for the perls adds to the cuteness of the designs and the background music, while forgettable, works well enough to immerse you into the game. It's also available free on the developer's website for those interested.
PerlMania is a dollar. It's hard not to recommend it. Lord only knows people have spent a dollar for more useless crap. Unfortunately it doesn't do enough to make it a must have game. If it had a more intuitive interface I'd give it a better score, but give it a demo and see if its worth a dollar. I mean really. It's a dollar.