Nexus 7 Now Available in White

Nexus 7 Now Available in White

Dec 12, 2013

Google’s flagship tablet is now available in pearly white, for those who don’t like the industrial black of the standard model. For now, this model only comes in 32GB and so far, WiFi only. No word if this brightened hued version will be open to LTE or come in lower storage sizes.


The device is now available through Google Play. Google is also running a holiday promotion for anyone who buys both a Chromecast and Nexus 7 together, can receive $35 in Google Play credit.

Blitz Block Robo Review

Blitz Block Robo Review

Aug 6, 2013

Blitz Block Robo is a newish pick-3 game sporting retro clothes.

The have is relatively easy to traverse, but it’s still great that it has a cool, optional tutorial section. It gives pointers with regards to how the game works, and how to maximize scoring.

And it works quite well; the game is, as noted, a match-3 deal, but one that involves squares. The squares come on several different colors in the passing grid, and the key is finding (and creating) sets of three or more adjacent blitz1squares. Interestingly, there is a lot of user interaction, as tapping sets of three classes the selection, and there is also the ability to use features to slide boxes into open space to facilitate more matches.

But wait. There’s more.

The open space that is necessary to manipulate square positioning isn’t infinite; the game engine fills up the space randomly, so quick decision-making is definitely a plus, lest the entire grid gets filled up and kills all chances for movement. And oh yeah… there is a countdown clock, meaning all the sliding and tapping has to be done very quickly to maximize the point output.

Another cool element is the presence of unique squares. The usual arcade staples are here: multipliers, dead blocks, spinners and others. When used effectively, even the hindrances add to the fun of the game.

The game includes some social networking compatibility, and the high score recording is a great self-challenge. It is also nice that the developer caters to different types of player temperaments by providing three levels of difficulty… easy, normal and hard. I thought the controls were a bit iffy, and that was after trying them on a few different devices. As the gameplay is a race against the clock, this is a bit dismal, but the developer notes that on Google Play that a fix is on the way.

Cool game, simple concept, nice graphics. 2013 is the year of the re-thought match 3.

Color Zen Review

Color Zen Review

Aug 2, 2013

Color Zen is a cool cucumber. It seems to want to tease your brain while calming it. It’s a lofty idea, but thankfully, I love checking out lofty ideas.

The game is definitely interesting. The best explanation is received from playing it and actually “feeling” the game.

The object of the game is to solve the color-centric puzzles. In the game’s playing area, there is a frame color — a color that covers a thin area around the play grid, kind of like a picture frame. In the grid itself are any number ofzen1 colored shapes. In general terms, touching any of the colors against another imbibes the second with the color of the first; in other words, the color is absorbed. For simplicity, one of the colors in the grid always matches the color of the outer rim.

The overall objective is to have the final color in the grid match the frame. For this to happen, it is important to figure out how to work the colors to allow he final colored shape be the one that matched the color of the outer frame. This is how the developer is able to carve out such a fascinating and calm game out of a seemingly rudimentary idea.

As the game progresses, new elements are tossed in; white becomes a neutral color; there’s stuff liked colored shapes within colored shapes, and asymmetrical formations that really force problem-solving.

It’s a game based on colors, and the graphics are proportionately sharp. The music is gentle and soothing, and works well in the game environment.

One thing that speaks well to the game is the support. The developer of the game has a forum, segregated by platform, that discusses updates, solutions and suggestions. I like this; consistent interactions can only help make the game better, and make the playing community develop a sense of belonging.

All in all, it is a surprisingly fun game that toils very little to create a fun atmosphere.

Blip Blup Review

Blip Blup Review

May 28, 2013

Blip Blup is an interesting puzzle game from ustwo that manages to be infuriating and calming in an interchangeable manner.

The gameplay looks deceptively easy, but the proof is almost only to be had in the playing. In each level, there is set of squares laid out in 2D grids (think of ubiquitous kitchen tiles on a floor). Tapping on a grey one caused “pulses” of color to emanate, affecting tiles beside and around the original square by making them imbibe the color. Getting every eligible square to take up the color with a minimum of taps (“blips”) is the recurring goal.

The first set of puzzles, or “packs” in game parlance specific to Blip Blup, serves as a working tutorial. This is always a good thing, and even though I think the verbiage could be less sparse, it does give good pointers with regards to playing the game successfully. It also hints at the variations and increased difficulty to come; blip1progression into advanced packs reveals harder boards with less and less symmetry and different obstacles. Tapping and holding a square highlights the immediate impact of setting of a pulse, so it is possible to estimate the reach of each play… to a degree.

What sets Blip Blup apart from the pack for me is its deliberate minimalism. The developer manages to create a bright, engaging interface by keeping the colors segregated. This really makes the pulsing squares illuminate against the mostly white backdrop, making the animations come to life in (hopefully) in a cascade of level-clearing color. Different packs usually have their own colors — bright pastels and primary colors — and this helps to induce a feeling of advancement. Yes, I’m biased in favor of clean and/or conservative demand when it works, and here, it simply worked.

The developer does get some props for simplicity of controls. It’s mostly about taps, longpressing and dragging.

Simplicity is the biggest feature. It allows the game to be simple without being foolish, and challenging with out invoking the theory of relativity. It is one game that did have been scrambling to unlock; I do refuse to complain about developers using legitimate means to fund their hard work.

The hard work does show in this game.

Spinballs Special Edition Review

Spinballs Special Edition Review

Jun 15, 2011

Puzzle games work because they’re deceptively simple. Look at Tetris, the granddaddy of them all. All you’re doing is guiding blocks into a space, but it doesn’t take long for the game to turn into a fiendish and cruel mistress, goading you for daring to think that an L shaped one would ever fit down there. That difficulty sneaks up on you, which is what gets you hooked.

Spinballs is similar in structure, if not style, to those puzzling greats of the past. It doesn’t try to bamboozle you with complex controls or a mind numbing story, nor does it set its puzzles in the bleak expanses of space. It just tells you to spin balls. Clever title, then.

As with a lot of puzzle games, your task in Spinballs is match three balls of the same colour. To do this, you spin a number of on-screen dials left or right. There are seven dials in total, each of them with six coloured balls attached. Once three or more balls are matched, they disappear, to be replaced by other balls. Burst the requisite numbers of balls and you move on to the next level.

To make things ever so slightly more complicated and modern, there are icons in the four corners of the screen. If you burst the balls that are adjacent to these icons, they gradually “fill up”. Once an icon is full, you can use the power associated with it. One of them shuffles the balls around, and another slows down the time bar, for example.

There are two game modes, Classic and Zen. Classic is a more frantic affair, with a ticking timer limiting how long you have to burst the balls, whereas Zen, as you might expect, is a little more sedate, getting rid of the timer altogether.

Spinballs won’t be to everyone’s taste, and there are times when the touch screen controls aren’t quite as accurate as they should be. The lack of different modes is also a bit of a concern – with only two on offer the game does appear a bit lacking in the content department.

These are small complaints, though. Spinballs is a fun and diverting puzzler, maybe not up there with the best of them, but certainly tugging on their coattails. It’s easy to pick up and difficult to master, exactly the formula that, with a few tweaks here and there, could propel it to greatness.