Plonk! Review

Plonk! Review

Feb 23, 2011

It’s not usually wise to judge a game solely on its looks. Just because a game looks bad doesn’t mean it’s not great. In the case of Plonk!, we have a game that doesn’t look very good, but is it a great game?

Before I answer the question, here are the basics: In Plonk!, a set number of colored squares are constantly falling from the top of the screen. In the beginning levels, you have two square widgets with four colors on each side at the bottom of the screen. Tapping them causes them to rotate clockwise, and the goal is to rotate them until they match the color of the falling square. If you can match 80% or better, you move onto to the next level. After 10 levels, the game is over.

Depending on how good you are, you can probably burn through the game in a matter of minutes, but it’s not as easy as it looks. It quickly becomes like spinning plates. If you miss one color, the time you spend trying to get the widget lined up for the next color can leave you without any time to turn the others. If you can’t get back on track, you’ll never make the 80% you need to move on, and you’ll have to start that level again.

Just when you think you’ve got the game pretty well under control, Plonk! throws a curve-ball on level 5, adding a third widget to turn. But even as crazy as things are now, then comes level 9, where the 3 square widgets change into pentagonal widgets and you have a 5th color to match up. At this point, you’re probably tearing out your hair, ready to give up. Don’t be surprised when you find yourself failing multiple attempts; it’s not easy.

With only 10 levels in all, as intense as Plonk! can get, it doesn’t last very long. Worse yet, it doesn’t leave much of an impression. The graphics are boring; functional, at best. The colored squares are just, well, colored squares. The widgets at the bottom of the screen are equally dull, and the plain, dark background doesn’t help things, either.

Perhaps the most offensive aspect is the terrible background music during the main game. What part of MIDI Hell did this music crawl out of, and why won’t it go back there? The best I can say about it is that you can turn it off. Meanwhile, oddly enough, the music that plays on the menu screen is fantastic. A trip-hoppy piece that I really enjoyed. Why not more of that?

I encourage the developer to try harder, dig a little deeper and add some character and depth to Plonk!. Dress it up, and add some other modes. How about an “endless” mode with scoring, multipliers and power-ups that change the pace of the game while giving it a more competitive edge?

So far, Plonk! feels more like a good start than a good game. It’s not great, but with a little work, it could be.

Plonk! Review Rundown

3
Graphics/Sound - The graphics are functional, at best. A little bit more color and some decoration could have made this special. The menu music was actually pretty good, but the music that plays during the game is awful.
7
Game Controls - They work well; no missed touches or skips. However, you can only turn the widgets to clockwise. I suppose that's part of the challenge.
7
Gameplay - Easy to learn, difficult to master. Could possibly drive you insane, depending on how you handle stress.
4
Replay Value - Slightly addictive in that, "I'm going to hit 100%, this time, for sure!" kind of way, but once you do, what's the point?
5.25
Overall - The game could use a lot of polish and character to stand out. Even with better graphics, however, it still feels unfinished. Needs more work.

App available on the Google Play Store »

Dale Culp
Dale Culp has been writing about video games in print and on the web for the better part of the last 10 years. From the Atari 2600 to the Xbox 360 and beyond, he's covered just about everything. You'll find his work in places such as TheWeekender.com, GoLackawanna.com, Gamesylvania.com, EscapistMagazine.com and even IGN.com
Connect with Dale Culp // email