Photon Review

Photon Review

Sep 11, 2012

Photon is a match–3 game that uses line-drawing to sink its hooks in. The year is 20XX, and discs are falling from the sky, and the only way to save humanity is by matching them up by the same color 3 or more at a time. That’s not the story, there is no story, I’m making it up because these games need a story to them. I mean, something has to be causing these objects to fall from the sky, and there’s some reason that they need to be matched up three at a time, like trying to one-up Noah’s Ark somehow. Anywho, the discs pile up, and players must draw lines between somewhat adjacent discs (the rules are a bit flexible with what’s adjacent and what isn’t) in order to destroy them. In “Classic” mode, there are special discs that either require multiple matches to get rid of, or start expanding until matched. Arcade mode (available for $0.99) lasts 90 seconds, features none of the hazardous blocks, and has powerups for making frantic score runs even more possible.

The game’s simplicity is part of its charm. It’s easy enough to get into, and the way that physics affect the stack makes it more than just another match–3 title. It still is a match–3 game, it just feels fresher. The futuristic interface is a nice touch too. It’s minimalist, and it works. Colorblind folks need not worry, as the discs can be set up with patterns to be viewed independent of their color. The game works exceptionally well on 7" tablets. Google has it featured in Google Play as a great tablet app, and I concur: the interface and controls are perfect for the small-yet-big dynamic of something like the Nexus 7.

Photon is freemium, and really, the unlocks are kind of backward. The free mode is an endless one, where the only thing stopping the game session is if the discs stack all the way up. The Arcade mode, which lasts a minute per session and has coins for players to use on powerups, which can also be bought with real-world money, costs $0.99 to unlock. This is fair, but probably not the most profitable option for Bifrost Studios. If Arcade was free, then they could drive some downloads of consumable IAP, and then sell the free version.

Still, it’s something that benefits the player, and the Arcade mode is worth $0.99 (plus, it gives out a ton of free coins, and my high score came without powerups). At worst, even just Classic mode is well worth the free download!