Developer: Isotope 244
Price: FREE
Version Reviewed: 1.0
App Reviewed on: iPhone 5s

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★½
Playtime Rating: ★★★★☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★★★½

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

5BY5 Brain Game is nearly as challenging to categorize as it is to play, with elements of multiple genres mashed together into one strategy puzzler. The goal is to arrange groups of like-colored number tiles whose values add up to 5 by sliding rows and columns. Sounds simple? While the basic gameplay is fairly easy to understand, getting good at it is another thing entirely!

As players make matches points are scored based on the number of tiles placed adjacent to each other with a sum of 5. The more tiles used, the higher the score. For example, matching a 4 and a 1 will score 10 points. But matching up a 2 and three 1s will earn 30 points. Making consecutive matches, multiple matches, or completely clearing a color from the board earns even more bonus points.

screenshot0040screenshot0037The single player game offers two options: get the highest score in 55 moves or get the highest score in 55+55 (yes, that makes 110) seconds. Players keep sliding and matching, racking up the points, until they either run out of moves or time. Then it starts all over again.

Friends can play each other with the handy pass-and-play multiplayer option. They’ll take turns making five moves each, until a total of 50 moves have been made. Players score points for making matches with their two assigned colored tiles, while avoiding matching their opponent’s tiles. Game Center multiplayer is also available, allowing individuals to invite a friend or find a random opponent via auto-match. Just like the pass-and-play mode, players take turns making their moves and trying to match their own tiles while using strategic plays to break-up their opponent’s possible matches. Again, this is easier said than done!

2014-03-05 12.56.512014-03-05 12.56.355BY5 Brain Game does allow players to make in-app purchases, and for the most part these are fairly reasonable. The Premium Upgrade – which is a no-brainer for anyone who really enjoys the game – gives players 55 color themes to choose from, removes all ads, and allows for several multiplayer games to be run simultaneously. Getting rid of the ads is a good thing as they’re pretty obnoxious in the basic free game. For instance, an ad pops up after every single Game Center multiplayer turn. Players can also purchase multiple Hints (which reveal the best possible move) and Undos (which allow players to fix mistakes and score higher points) in variously priced increments.

Number puzzle fans will certainly want to jump right in and add 5BY5 Brain Game to their stable of go-to games. The challenging gameplay is well worth the premium in-app purchase for those who are going to be playing it a lot. For anyone else who wants an occasional challenge with an easy-to-learn but hard-to-master game, this is one that deserves to be checked out!

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