Burstle Arrives on Google Play

Burstle Arrives on Google Play

Apr 15, 2016

Developer Cerebellio has dropped a new game on Google Play called Burstle; it looks to be a bit reminiscent of Tetris — with a DIY twist.

Per Google Play:

The rules of Burstle are simple: put at least 3 tiles of the same colour next to each other and burst them to score points.
The snags of Burstle are numerous: you must reach your score target, whilst navigating special tiles such as walls and wildcards. To be successful in Burstle you’re going to have to be a great player!

There are a number of powerups you can unlock along the way as you level up your character. Bombs allow you to burst all surrounding tiles. Sniper strikes search out all tiles of the colour you select to destroy them. There are many more secrets to unlock as you play!

[FEATURES]

• 600 levels ranging from very easy to very very difficult!

• 4 difficulties: Casual, Normal, Hard and Insane

• Over 40 trophies for you to unlock as you progress

• Powerups, colour schemes and grid shapes for you to buy with your hard-earned coins!

• Consistently soothing sound effects and animations make Burstle a joy to pass the time with

#burstle

Burstle is free (with in-app purchases) on Google Play.

Matchagon Review

Matchagon Review

Dec 31, 2013

Matchagon is a match-3 dropping block game from Tinytouchtales.

The game gets high marks for simplicity and invoking familiarity. The playing grid is coated in stark white, and the 2D stylings kinda remind one of Tetris. The playing pieces are octagon shapes, and are different colors, mostly soft pastels, with a sharp purple here and a dark blue there. These 6 or 7 colors drop one by one from the top of the playing area randomly, with one visually on deck.

The white playing area can take these playing pieces five playing pieces wide and six deep, and by dragging, it is possible to pick the lane a particular piece drops in; the idea is to use the matching powers of same colored pieces to prevent the playing grid from being completely filled. match1

When three or more pieces of the same color are stacked vertically, they combine to become a powerful combo piece. When a diagonal or horizontal line of colors is formed, they explode for points, and all the pieces around the disintegrated ones obey simplistic laws of gravity and fill the vacated space. If a combo piece is used in one of the sets, more points are gained, and it is possible to create a super combo piece by stacking three sets of three pieces of the same color. If and when the area is completely filled, the run ends, and the final score is tallied.

The gameplay is patient, but challenging at the same time. the randomness of the dropping pieces does create situations in which ad hoc strategy has to be created an adjusted in a play or two. the gameplay comes into two flavors, normal and hard. The hard playing level is set apart by the addition of an extra black piece,which are dead shapes; they just occuoy space, and create gaps that need to be played around.

For a simple brain teaser, this game hits the spot. The graphics are not going to cause George Lucas envy, but the gameplay doesn’t really need any extra sass to resonate.

It just works.

The Legend of Block Puzzle Review

The Legend of Block Puzzle Review

Nov 13, 2013

Tangram is one of the oldest puzzles, and is one of the most interesting. It’s a Chinese invention, as well as 85% of everything, and consists of seven different pieces of different shapes that need to be packed together into a certain form. It comes in very different shapes and sizes, and the pieces are greatly varied, from the simple squares and triangles, to unintelligible heaps of shapes that seem to contain more sides than an Internet debate. I’m actually quite surprised that I’ve only found a game, based off Tangram, just now, and it goes by the ridiculously generic name: “The Legend of Block Puzzle”.

The Legend of Block Puzzle 1The Legend of Block Puzzle is a Tangram-like puzzle. That’s pretty much, it. There’s a field with a shaded shape in the middle, and a certain number of Tetris-like, but a lot more complex pieces, each consisting of an arrangement of squares. These pieces can all be fit together to make up the simple shape, and the player’s objective is to arrange them correctly. The pieces can be moved freely across the board, but can’t be rotated, making the puzzle somewhat simpler to complete. It still takes a surprising amount of time to put the puzzle together, and with the amount of levels available, there are hours to be lost inside of the game. There are hundreds of levels available for free, and an endless level generator for the hardcore fanatics, so the game definitely doesn’t suffer from shortness of gameplay time.

It does suffer from an overly simple design, however. Besides the tiles themselves, there’s barely anything in the game. Almost no sound, and just a few background textures and that’s it. I don’t know if any additional content would ruin The Legend of Block Puzzle; it is a classic puzzle experience, but it could have had at least something to look at. In any case, it’s a fun iteration of the timeless game, and at a free price, there’s nothing to complain about in it.

Edit: There’s been some changes to the game, after this review was published. Now it has board size and auto start options, as well as more levels, and also ads that can only be turned off with $2.55 out of your virtual pocket.

Blast Blox Review

Blast Blox Review

Oct 28, 2013

Blast Blox is a Tetris-y game that just about out-muscles the game it emulates.

As noted, the gameplay is reminiscent of Tetris in style and general form of gameplay. Blocks fall from the top, and the general idea is stop the blocks from building up to the top. The block structures can be rotated and shifted as they drop to work on fit. Thankfully, this isn’t just a re-branded cascading blocks game. There are several defining points that make it different, and maybe even more challenging.

First, unlike Tetris, the blocked shapes that drop from the top are always in threes. Additionally, the dropping, three-pieced structures were not “hard” per se; if on was lengthwise on the growing structure from the bottom with a section of cube unsupported, that cube keeps on falling to is makes contact with something below.

But the biggest change, one that makes all the difference, is the addition of powered cubes. blast1

There are three of them; there is a flame cube, an explosive cube and a water cube. The developer combines these in a groovy form of rock-paper-scissors. Based on some simple restrictions, the explosive cubes cause affected cubes on the “ground” to turn into wooden cubes. The flaming cube sets adjacent cubes on fire, while the water cube douses and transforms the flame cubes into water cubes which, if at the bottom, drain out to fill the water meter at the bottom. Filling the water meter is what completes the level. Even if not physically at the bottom, water cubes do disolve into the water meter over time.

Now, this all comes together to create a pretty interesting game that requires more strategy and quick reflexes to survive and advance. Placement of colors and powered cubes has important ramifications.

The artwork is kind of smooth, with a lot of blues in the background contrasting with the soft green, blue and reds of the block structures. Soft bubble animations add to the ambiance. I thought the controls could have been much more responsive, and I also think there could have been a bit more definition attached to the structures, but all in all, this is a fun game that puts the umph into Tetris.

Tetris Blitz Gets Weekly Power-Ups And Challenges In New Update

Tetris Blitz Gets Weekly Power-Ups And Challenges In New Update

Sep 9, 2013

The game that never grows old gets a new update that introduces a bunch of new mechanics. They should’ve probably been there before the update, though. They include weekly power-ups to help beat the high-score, challenges for those who, like me, can play standard Tetris virtually endlessly, and time-limiting game modes. The game can be downloaded from here: Tetris® Blitz on Google Play. Alternatively, you can play Tetris for free on freetetris.org.

Neon Snap Review

Neon Snap Review

Jun 18, 2013

Neon Snap is one of those games that soothes the mine just by looking it. With the tetrominoes and gridded space, it is practically impossible to not think of Tetris, if just a little. It’s advisable to avoid getting too caught up in the similarities, as Neon Snap sorta turns the gameplay over on its head.

The developer uses simple graphics to frame the game. With a mostly dark backgrounds, the play pieces are brightly colored, and the color of the pieces depends on their respective shapes. The animations are decent; rotations are handled in a utilitarian manner, and everything comes together with a minimalist feel.

The gameplay, as noted, will bring Tetris to mind, with the colored blocks I have already mentioned. Instead of said blocks cascading to the bottom and toiling against the player’s desire to treat the resulting wall down, in Neon neon1Snap, raw puzzle solving is more basic. There is an empty playing grid in each level, and a set number of pieces of varying shapes at the bottom. The grid space has to be completely covered with the given pieces. To solve, the given pieces have to be dragged and places in a space above… and so on and so forth till the grid is completely fuel with no empty grid blocks.

Blocks can be rotated, replaced and shifted until it is completely solved. Rotations can be effected by touching the tetrinome, or simply using the dedicated rotating button at the bottom left.

Now, on paper, it’s not an overly difficult endeavor, but add the game progresses, it gets tougher, and tougher. The grids start becoming highly irregular, with a limited array of blocks.

There are different difficulty levels of gameplay to get lost in, and the unlocked version of the game boasts of of more than a hundred different mind benders.

It starts out as a fun game, and concludes as such, which makes it such a compelling entry.

Slydris Review

Slydris Review

Jun 10, 2013

When it comes to Slydris (from Radiangames), I believe one can be given pass for thinking one has seen it before.

Yes, the game is very reminiscent of a famous vertical falling block game, but to describe this game with the wide swathe descriptor of being just another Tetris clone does it a huge, tragic disservice.

Nevertheless, for clarity, it helps to describe the initial feel in Tetris-y terms. The rectangular playing area should look familiar. As in Tetris, blocks drop from the top all the way down as far as as possible. When a complete line of blocks is made, it evaporates, creating more space. The basic idea is to prevent the block structure from slydris1reaching the top, as that causes the run to end.

The playing mechanism is quite different from Tetris, though. Instead of rotating shapes to maximize the fit while continually fighting gravity, in this game, sliding the blocks into open space is what is needed to create the cascades. Periodically, depending on the mode , there are a set of pieces that fall down, potentially building the wall of blocks higher.

This concept creates a somewhat familiar game with a fresh feel that requires a degree of strategy to be successful at. There are various combos that can be activated via multiple sequences and making lines of one color. Additionally, there is a “bomb” meter that rises — matures, if you will — that can be a lifesaver, as it kills any three rows selected. These helper are especially valuable against some of the traps that appear; stuff like regenerated blocks from beneath and the strategy-breaking magnets keeps folks on their toes.

The game is a fine testament to high color, with spectacular depth. I really liked how, with a toggle, the game theme changed in game. I also like the different game modes (Survival, infinite and the relaxing Zen).

Slydris is a real fun game that sneaks up on you. It can be a burst of fun, or a casual adventure; the true joy of this particular game is that it is all in the player’s hands.

Block Story HD Review

Block Story HD Review

Mar 7, 2013

Block Story is a fun little block placement number reminiscent of Tetris.

I thought the game was able to adequately traverse the narrow path between “too familiar” and “overly complex” that clones are forced to walk. It kept the general shapes of regular Tetris blocks, but presented the blocks in 3-D form, which made an interesting change. Instead of 2-D dropping blocks, I had to place these 3-D structures in an 8 x 8 square grid on the ground.

The biggest change, at least in my estimation, was the time. In classic Tetris, I had to rotate the block and fit in as well as I could to effect evenness, while fighting against the clock of gravity. In Block Story, there was no time factor involved; I could take as much time as I needed to figure out where to place the box on the grid. Basically, it was a simple matter of finding out the best spot to place the block, and then, with the use of shadowing for accuracy, dropping it into space (after doing any needed rotations).

Just like in classic Tetris, there was a window that showed me the the next pieces due to appear; in this game, I got to know which four (4) items were next in line. This was pretty useful when approaching the game with a bit of strategy in mind, as I could now plan a few moves in my head with the knowledge of what I had in inventory.

My overall job was to try to cover the entire grid with the blocks. Way easier said than done. I got a pass (I could toss a piece that I wanted to avoid at any given time, and the game involved leveled play, with tougher grids — like some with unusable/filled squares. Additionally, levels could be replayed.

The game used muted colors, and the animations were sufficient to the game play. The nondescript music felt a bit soothing, and helped provide a bit of a nice background. The blocks themselves were whimsical, with animal faces and such.

As I said earlier, it does remind one of tetris, but I thought it doesn’t try to live under its shadow. That is why it worth a look.

Matchblocks Review

Matchblocks Review

Dec 4, 2012

Matchblocks is a fun, creative game from industry veteran Noodlecake that manages to meld visual elements of Tetris with color-matching games to create a surprisingly effective handheld adventure. While the physics of the game make comparisons to Tetris understandable, I hesitate to describe it as a Tetris clone, as the addition of said color-matching (that I go into below) is what sets it square on its own road.

The game involves rectangular puzzle pieces dropping from the top of the playing screen. Unlike Tetris, the blocks didn’t fall in clean, linear paths; it was free fall all the way down. Each block consisted of segmented color squares: green yellow and orange in springy pastels. Using a color-bar at the bottom of the play area, I had to tap the colors in the order they appeared in the respective blocks to dissolve each, because, as with Tetris, if the stack of blocks made it to the top, the game was over. Dropping buttons with dots (corresponding with the number of times they had to be tapped to be dissolved) and some with bonuses also ate into the space I had, so quick reaction time and dexterity of finger(s) were some of the keys to getting high scores.

As expected, it started off easy, and then got harder, with the blocks stacking in irregular patterns. Strategizing does play a role in success, as clearing from the bottom (which seems logical), isn’t always the best choice. When the height gets critical, one is greeted with a reddish warning hue.

Now, while speed is key, I can’t help but wonder why the developer used soft pastels instead of bright colors. Whether or not it was a conscious decision, I thought it was very welcome, as it made the game that more challenging, as more care had to be given to select the right colors.

The game features different modes (such as arcade, timed and zen); none deviated from the general principles of gameplay.

I liked the total package. I wish there was a form of head-to-head battle, but incorporated social sharing adds value in my opinion.

Martian Mansions Review

Martian Mansions Review

Nov 12, 2012

Martian Mansions may be based on a classic game, but a few seconds spent on the game and you’ll realize it’s not as easy as Tetris. For starters, the environment of falling blocks is in 3D, and blocks are lined up to form a cylinder instead of a straight wall, making the game harder than usual.

Although the execution differs from the classic Tetris game, Martian Mansions‘ game objective remains faithful to its predecessor — which is basically piling blocks without leaving gaps to clear them out and prevent falling blocks to accumulate on top. But there’s more to playing the game than one might think.

Blocks are shaped to form a cylinder instead of a straight wall. To ensure that the first block layer is filled, one must rotate the platform to avoid dropping blocks on the same spot. As in Tetris, individual falling blocks can be rotated on midair to fit the gaps made by other blocks. Once a layer has all areas filled, it disappears, giving more room for incoming blocks. If the blocks are getting crowded and there is an urgent need to clear lower blocks, two “filler” blocks are available to tap on (located on the upper left corner of the screen). These blocks can fill in little or big gaps at the time when they’re badly needed. However, the number of special blocks one can use for this is limited, so one has to use them wisely.

After playing the game for a few days, I realized that game control buttons might be the reason that I have a hard time clearing blocks. The left/right buttons for rotations are on opposite ends of the screen, and in the middle is the rotate button for falling blocks. This setup caused me to rotate blocks when I meant to rotate the platform to the left. With other games, the left/right buttons are next to each other, while the shoot/jump/do-whatever button sits on its own on the opposite side.

Graphics are fairly good, and the alien-themed design certainly puts a modern spin on a classic game. Performance is also great, as there are no lags or delays in animations or responses to touch. This is not a problem at all, and at times I wished it was especially when I make bad brick drops and it’s too late to adjust them.

One interesting thing about Martian Mansions is that there is no way to check how many worlds or levels are left to be completed. The game just shows a simple animation, and tapping the play button immediately starts the game. I haven’t gone too far into the levels, so there is really no telling what kind of re-play value one can expect from this game.

Martian Mansions is a fresh and interesting way to play an old and forgotten game. However, it might need a bit of improvement in terms of game controls and overall navigational design. Having played the game, I can say it’s off to a good start, although it has plenty of room for improvement to make it more player-friendly.

Tetris Free Comes to the Android Market

Tetris Free Comes to the Android Market

Aug 30, 2011

EA is increasing their experimentation with free games on Android, after releasing an ad-supported version of Scrabble recently. Now, Tetris is available in a free capacity for Android. Tetris Free features only one game mode, the traditional Marathon mode that’s likely the most popular of all Tetris modes. As well, the game features ads that display before the game starts and on the top of the screen during gameplay. Unlike Scrabble Free on Android, Tetris is designed in part to upsell the paid version that currently exists on the Android Market.

It will be interesting to see if this proves to be EA’s preferred distribution method for games on Android from here on out; while these last two releases have been free to play, they haven’t involved in-app purchases in any way. Will EA games go down this road in the near future? Time will only tell. Tetris Free is now available from the Android Market.

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.