Version Reviewed: 1.3.7
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 4
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It's all too easy to glance through the App Store, notice yet another game that involves chaining together colored bubbles and metaphorically walking away. In doing so, it's all too easy to miss clever titles such as Chains Mobile.
On the surface, Chains Mobile is just like any other Match Three title but with even less personality than the others. The graphics are vector based and lack any special nuances. The first stage, requiring the player to clear 100 of the colored bubbles, offers nothing more exciting than a physics engine that adds some life to the, otherwise, dull shapes. If the first level was any indication of what's to come, this would be a very different kind of review.
It's the second stage that shows just what Chains Mobile can do. The Gate requires clearing 200 orbs without losing any. A simple concept till the player notices that the more orbs fall on the platform, the lower the bridge falls. It's clear what's to come and adds tension without relying on an obvious time limit. The clever ideas continue to come with subsequent levels offering puzzles such as clear the exact change in one chain, with each orb equalling a different value. Another level requires creating a significantly long chain, with others focusing on speed once more.
Mixing up what's expected in each level keeps Chains Mobile feeling fresh and exciting. It's a Match Three type of title at heart but with some great moments of originality. At times, it will genuinely make the player think about how to approach a problem.
It's this different way of tackling the genre that makes Chains Mobile a cut above the rest. It won't win prizes for looks or music (I found myself muting it) but it will earn praise for ingenuity. It's a refreshing change of pace for a much maligned genre.