'The Act' - Best Android, iOS apps from 2012

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The act

1The Act 
(Developed by React Entertainment)
Available for: iOS 
Released: June
Price: $2.99

With all apologies to the digital innovators at Pixar, no one did animation better or stretched its parameters farther than the Walt Disney and Warner Bros. staffers who painstakingly drew each and every frame of the classic Mickey Mouse and Bugs Bunny cartoons produced during Hollywood's golden era. React Entertainment's The Act brilliantly captures the style and spirit of yesterday's hand-drawn, gut-busting animated antics but revolutionizes the formula for the iOS age, adding touchscreen-enabled gaming mechanics and choose-you-own-adventure interactivity to redefine the possibilities of screwball comedy storytelling.

You star in The Act as Edgar, a hapless window washer who must overcome a series of challenges to retain his job, keep his oafish brother Wally out of trouble and win the affections of his dream woman, a va-va-voom nurse named Sylvia. Gamers control Edgar's actions as well as his emotions: Swiping the iOS device screen either left or right prompts a different reaction to a given situation or character interaction, and swiping too far or too fast can boost Edgar's confidence a little too high--much to his professional and romantic detriment.

As cartoon shorts go, The Act is a worthy heir to the legacy of industry greats like Chuck Jones and Friz Freleng: The narrative is witty and engaging, the animation is sophisticated yet delightfully silly, and composer Peter Moore's jazzy, Henry Mancini-inspired musical score sparkles. But The Act is more than a cartoon--it's an immersive experience set in a beautifully realized cinematic world that you control. Some App Store user reviews complain The Act wraps up its storyline too quickly and/or doesn't deliver enough replay value to justify its $2.99 download price, but those are minor quibbles in light of its extraordinary creative and technical achievements. There's simply nothing else like it.