Rafter by Emantras is a beautifully drawn physics-based puzzle game inspired by Leonardo Da Vinci. The point of the game is to strike a red mine. To get there, you’ll need to draw circular or rectangular shapes that bounce through the maze-like levels. Rafter may sound easy, but the increasingly difficult 31 levels are a constant trial of geometry, physics, and sketching ability.
Touch and drag to position and size a circle or rectangle along a narrow area at the top of the screen. Once you have released the object, it is in the hands of the physics of the game. If you sketch the right sized object in the right spot it will bounce through the level and strike the red target goal, or you can use multiple objects to reach the mine. You can sketch up to 18 objects before you must start over, and the fewer objects you use to reach the target, the more points you receive.
The drawing area at the top of the screen is a bit restrictive so you’ll have to sketch very carefully to get what you want. The animations are smooth, and the interactions are fun to watch—especially in levels which feature items like swinging platforms and fans. Levels get progressively more difficult to the point where more luck than skill usually gets you to the target. Most players should be able to finish the game very quickly so hopefully more levels will arrive in updates. The version I played had recently been updated to include 31 levels.
Rafter is a solid physics puzzle game. The artwork is distinctive if extremely obtuse, but the level design isn’t very inspired with only a handful of different obstacles. A level editor would have been a nice edition along with a way to share the newly-minted levels with other Rafter gamers. Reportedly, this is under development for a future update. At a bargain price, Rafter is a good value with lots of challenge for physics puzzle loving fans.
Rafter is compatible with any iPhone or iPod touch running the iPhone 3.1.2 software update or later.
[James Savage is the host of the RetroMacCast a weekly podcast devoted to older Macintosh computers.]