Developer: Playbrains
Price: $0.99
Version Reviewed: 1.02

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

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

IMG_0647Bejeweled is one of the iPhone’s top-selling apps of all time. Surprised? Don’t be. Time and time again, we’ve proven that we’re just suckers for “match-3’s.” However, if you’re a match-3 fan who’s getting tired of Bejeweled or needs one for this platform, Babo Crash is worth noting. It’s not radically new, but the quick tempo and various power-ups provide a fun experience nonetheless.

The game itself takes place on a familiar 8×8 grid of colorful gems. To match gems, you simply drag from one to another; the gems will swap. If you “match three” or more if the same color, they clear. It’s the old game, just as you remember it.

…except not quite. A number of elements have been added to help Babo Crash stand out from the crowd. Special gems called Heroes and Robos are created when you match four or five gems, respectively. You can then activate their abilities, which range from tilt-controlled gem destruction to destroying all purple gems on the field. Unmatchable “villains” also appear to hinder your progress. Babo Crash also allows you to change the screen’s orientation at will in order to strategically control the gems’ fall, creating immense cascades of gems and consecutive combos. If you finish a level early, you’ll go into Overtime, where you can earn double the points for a brief period of time.

Other than that, the game is pretty straightforward. OpenFeint leaderboards and achievements are available, and the game gives you the all-important option of turning off its music in favor of your own—the background music is all right, but far from exceptional or addicting. The graphics are solid and brightly colored. Auto-save works like a charm. That’s a good thing, too, because my only substantial complaint is that the game takes so long to play. There are twenty-one levels in each game, and no alternative quick-play modes. Auto-save makes this bearable, but Babo Crash’s fast tempo makes me wish that there was a way to finish a game quickly. Where are the other game modes?

Other than that, Babo Crash is a solid, relatively simple title. It’s nothing extraordinarily new, and if you’re sick to death of match-3’s or already have one, this game isn’t for you. If, however, you’re a fan of the genre and need one for your iPhone or iPad, Babo Crash is a good choice. The additions don’t radically alter the game, but they’re nice perks to a solid game.

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