A Physics Puzzle to Stretch Your Mind—and Your Patience

Stretched is a physics puzzle for the iOS that explores slingshot physics in ways we've seen before, and a few ways we haven't yet. Packing 80 levels for a buck, Stretched will definitely stretch your dollar, but it may also stretch your patience.

Happily, there's a "skip level" feature to get you past some of the more intractable puzzles, but the basic requirement is easy enough for most. Your job is to fling a ball-like creature from sling to sling to collect the level's primary objective, a bubble, while of course picking up as many optional bubbles along the way. You're scored on the familiar three stars scale at the end of the round.

There's no time limit or existential threat forcing you to act in Stretched but you will find your patience to be your most formidable adversary. In most cases, the level design is set up to exploit a player's inclination to rush through. Stretched features not only slings, but also sliding hammocks, sticky blobs, bombs, wheels and other features meant to help you negotiate the puzzle correctly.

You seem to be able to skip difficult levels without limitation in Stretched, although it does require a certain number of stars to advance to the next collection. You get at least one for completing a level. Collecting more than half of the optional bubbles gives you two. Collecting everything awards you three.

The physics were consistent and repeatable, and you're aided by a series of dots showing the assumed trajectory of the shot, but I found that Stretched's main character played a little heavy and the shots came off shallower than I expected. Careful shot making is required in later levels, especially those designed to get you to rebound off walls.

There's a good deal of variety in Stretched, with more levels promised in addition to the 80 you already get. The presentation is a bit formulaic, with a happy soundtrack, cute sound effects, and sugary visuals, but none of that undercuts the solid challenge and clever level design posed by the game's core gameplay. At just a dollar, Stretched is easily recommendable.

Stretched [iOS]