My hopes were high for this one – in general, I love puzzle games, and have bought many on Xbox Live Arcade / Indie Games over the years.
Loading this up you’re presented with a nice clean opening screen and menu, and within the Help section there is a tutorial that explains how to play the game: You need to group together three or more blocks to make them disappear from the playing area.
There are also several special blocks that appear, which do things like destroying certain coloured blocks and locking rows. I was never really sure what each block was going to do until it was in play, as the graphics on them are quite complex and not easily identifiable.
As you are playing, the area expands to allow for new blocks entering the screen. If the screen becomes too large, a warning sounds and the block causing the problem flashes. If you do not move the offending block quick enough, it is Game Over. I found that I was never quite sure why or when the screen would be deemed ‘too large’…
The way you group the blocks is by clicking on a row or column, and then moving the left analogue to move the whole row. Unfortunately, the controls are very twitchy – sometimes the row does not move at all, other times it goes further than you would like. There are several options that allow you to customise the controls: for example, the speed the rows move; the sensitivity; and the line locking, which is allowing you to go from moving a row to a column without having to re-press and hold the button. But despite playing around with all the options, I could not get the controls to behave exactly in the way I wanted. It’s a shame that you cannot use the d-pad, either.
There are a few game modes: normal, timed and arcade; and there are three difficulty levels (match 2, 3 or 4 colours).
In normal mode, you always start from level 1 and try to get as far in the game and thus score as many points as possible. For me, I was expecting that in this mode, I would continue on from the last level I made it to, so having to start from the beginning each time didn’t have great appeal to me.
As Timed would suggest, you have a time limit to score as many points as possible. Arcade mode is just score as much as you can without different levels before the game fills up too much and it is game-over.
I think this game would also benefit from a ‘speed up’ button, as sometimes you are just sitting waiting for new blocks as you simply don’t have enough to make up 3 of any particular colour.
My major issue with this game is that there is no colour-blind mode. In games like this, they really should be standard – all it would take is some texture patterns or symbols adding to the blocks in order for colourblind gamers to differentiate between them. But saying that, I myself who am not colourblind did struggle between the orange and red on this game. The squares are very small and the colours are very close.
All in all, it’s not a bad game, but one hampered by accessibility options / control issues. It is only 80MSP though….
I will give this game and a half.
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