Shaky Tower Review

Shaky Tower Review

Jun 28, 2011

Without the laws of physics, we’d be bouncing off the walls at remarkable angles, dropping glasses of water upwards and balancing enormous towers of balls further than the eye can see or comprehend. Even if you deny causality, you’ve got to admit that the world would be pretty rubbish without physics. Not that that actually means anything, but you get the point. Modern video games agree with this analysis, and so any game that doesn’t have realistic, or at the very least believable, physics is shunned like a pariah, thrown onto the scrap heap of immature and inaccurate nonsense. Luckily for ShakyTower, the game is chock full of all of them physics. It’s so full of physics, it may as well be physics.

ShakyTower tasks you with building a shaky tower out of smiley, anthropomorphic bricks. You have to hold your phone parallel to the ground and use the accelerometer to keep the tower balanced, or, in some cases, to knock the tower over in order to reach goals, kill your blocks or unlock secret bounties. There are also a vast swathes of other physics based puzzles and games that you get to play.

In an odd way, ShakyTower is a game designed to be played when you’re stood up, which might not be that appealing to some people. If you’re sat down, then hunching over, making sure the seat you’re sat on is flat and not moving very much all become essential parts of the game. After longer play sessions, it’s entirely possible to have warped your posture permanently whilst trying to make sure your tower doesn’t collapse into the red spaces of oblivion that signal instant death.

Spinal problems aside, ShakyTower is an impressive puzzle game. It’s not the most original idea, but it’s remarkably well implemented, and it has a cheeky sense of fun that’s most endearing. The physics could do with a little tweak here and there, but ShakyTower is an enjoyable, if sometimes uncomfortable, diversion, although its debatable whether the tower building skills you develop in game will be any use in the real world.

Puzzle Prism review

Puzzle Prism review

Apr 11, 2011

Developer: PONOS
Price: PRICE US$4.11
Version: 1.0.1
App Reviewed on: Motorola Droid X

When I first saw the screenshots of Puzzle Prism, I didn’t think I was going to like it. Not because I thought it looked bad, but because I’ve played 3D variations on Tetris before, and I usually wound up walking away unimpressed. Yet, after playing Puzzle Prism for a few rounds, I didn’t hate it at all; I just kept right on playing because I was hooked.

Puzzle Prism is a typical block dropping game where the goal is to play for the highest score by filling in as many levels as possible. It’s a simple formula that’s been exploited by generations of video games, but still a lot of fun. You have 4 modes to choose from, which you unlock as you play the game. You start at the Standard mode and advance after you hit a certain score.

In Standard mode, you’re playing an endless game featuring a tower that is steadily rising. You have to drop irregularly shaped blocks into the gaps to fill a “level,” causing that level to clear and awarding you with points. As you clear each level, the remaining bits of blocks drop down and either fill in other gaps to create a chain reaction or just lie there, waiting for you to drop another block. The game only ends after the tower reaches the top line.

In Time Attack mode, the same rules apply, however, you have 2 minutes to get as high a score as possible without the tower reaching the top. Dead Line is like Time Attack mode, except that as you drop blocks, the tower rises much more quickly. You have to fill in the spaces about as fast as you can just to keep up. It’s easily the hardest mode, in my opinion, as it comes right at you and almost never lets up.

Finally, you have Extra mode, which is the most unusual of the group. In Extra mode, the tower is a blue block that is steadily dwindling down to nothing. The object is to be as efficient as possible, filling in the level directly on top of the tower. If you slip up and misplace a block, you’ll have to clear it before you can start adding layers again. The game ends when the tower completely disappears. In addition to these 4 modes, you have 88 trophies to unlock and a global leaderboard to compete with, giving you plenty of reasons to keep coming back and playing the game.

The only complaint I have about the game is that the swiping controls were very touchy, sometimes registering a side swipe as a down swipe and immediately dropping a block where I didn’t want it. However, this is easily solved by switching to pad controls in the Options menu. Meanwhile, the psychedelic colors and flashy visuals might not be for everyone, but once you get hooked, you don’t even notice them.

Regardless of these minor problems, I just keep on playing because I really enjoy the core mechanic.