Circus Atari can be fun, but this circus has already left town
Even so, Circus Atari can be a fun game. You'll control a happy circus clown that is launched from a cannon towards the sky, and will then tilt your iPhone or iPad to cause the clown to run into balloons, small sections of tightropes, bouncing planks and even power-ups as you attempt to collect coins and reach as high a height as possible before falling back down again. Power-ups might cause you to rocket upwards at a faster rate or even cause your clown to become a magnet for coins, but these are all elements we've seen before in the countless similar games already available on iTunes.
Most of your time in Circus Atari will be spent aiming for green balloons filled with helium that send you upwards just enough to hopefully hit another balloon in your path. There are obstacles to avoid as you climb, like red switches that send you backwards, and when you do fail, you'll have the option of either allowing your game to end or to use a safety net that stretches across the screen and gives you another try. You can purchase additional nets in the store at a rate of 1 net per 500 coins (large, bulk packages are also available, bringing in the concept of spending real money), but you'll need to play quite a few games (and perform really well in each) to even reach that 500 coin barrier for a single net.
Even for its simplicity, Circus Atari still has its share of technical problems, like a soundtrack that occasionally sticks, repeatedly playing a one or two second loop until you terminate the application entirely and constant slow-downs as you unlock OpenFeint achievements, with large text windows popping up in your way that notify you of your rewards.
While Circus Atari could be considered better than Doodle Jump, even if only for the fact that the latter costs 99 cents and Circus Atari is free, Mega Jump is also free, and is a more entertaining experience (even if all of the above have now become outdated). In the case of Circus Atari, this is a situation where being late to the party and offering nothing in the way of originality or extras simply isn't enough.
Click here to download Circus Atari on iTunes --->
What do you think of Circus Atari? Are you still playing games like this, that ask you to reach as high up into the sky as you can without falling? Sound off in the comments.