Developer: Chaotic Heart Studios
Price: $1.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPod Touch

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★☆☆
Game Controls Rating: ★★★½☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★½☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★★☆☆

Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆

Alchemy Reactions tries something very different for an iOS game, as it places a strong emphasis on text-heavy, story-driven gameplay. While the actual game mechanics are nothing particularly special, they are interwoven with a fun, well-written story which many players will want to see through to the end. While the puzzles won’t wow you, you may find yourself sucked into the deep tale.

Alchemy Reactions presents a series of chain-reaction puzzles which players must clear in a set number of moves in order to advance. Each element onscreen reacts differently when set off, so the primary challenge comes from figuring out how to eliminate all the icons in the fewest number of moves possible. Generally it works well, but sometimes the game can really drag as you wait for slowly floating elements to align just right so you can finish off a stage. Most of the time the game is entertaining enough, but it occasionally loses its steam.

The most entertaining aspect of Alchemy Reactions is actually its story, which is thorough, engaging and mostly grammatically correct. Oftentimes iOS games sacrifice plot and script assuming that no one cares, which just makes games like Alchemy Reactions that take storytelling seriously stand out all the more. Fans of RPGs may want to check out Alchemy Reactions for its bite-sized take on sorcery, treachery and drama.

Though the plot of the game is excellent, there are a couple of aspects which need improvement. Unfortunately the controls aren’t quite as sensitive as they should be, and nothing is more annoying than missing a tightly-timed reaction because the game didn’t register your touch. It doesn’t happen all that often, but when it does it can really be frustrating. The game is also rather short, and while there is some amount of replay value in revisiting stages, it’s not enough to keep you interested for more than a day or so after you finish the story.

The game’s enjoyable plot may be enough for many to justify trying it, but there’s not a lot beyond that supporting the rest of the experience. Far from a technical marvel, Alchemy Reactions relies on an audience which places narrative ahead of action, and there’s nothing wrong with that. The game is excellent on a plot level, but forgettable in terms of the gameplay itself.

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