Version Reviewed: 1.0.1
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Multi-touch is the one distinctive feature of the iPhone that still seems underutilized amongst today's games. Whenever an app does a good job of tapping into that potential, it adds a bit of magic to the formula. That's exactly what Mobigame accomplishes in Cross Fingers, their follow-up to the critically-acclaimed EDGE. Cross Fingers melds a couple of simple puzzle game types together into an attractive package, and then sprinkles it with a healthy dose of multi-touch for a unique experience that is truly befitting of the platform.
The core gameplay of Cross Fingers involves moving wooden shapes into a pre-defined pattern. Each puzzle board has its own pathways carved into it, so you not only have to combine the pieces correctly, but must navigate them all within the physical space. On top of that, there are red blocks that can be moved, but then snap back into place when you let go of them. What you get is a seamless combination of tangrams, unblock puzzles, and Twister for your fingers. The experience is very tactile, and the puzzles can get devious with how you need to manipulate all of the elements involved.
Cross Fingers has a total of 120 levels, 30 each for easy, normal, hard and the unlockable pro difficulties. The puzzles do a good job of mixing things up, with some of them concentrating on the tangram/unblock elements, and others focusing more-so on the manual dexterity angle. You will be called upon to use three, four, or even five fingers at times in order to hold and shift things into place, and those are often the best moments in the game.
After you've completed all 120 levels in Puzzle Mode, an Arcade mode is unlocked. Arcade mode gives you an open playing field on which shapes are periodically pushed onto. You need to keep combining shapes to form a square pattern in the center of the screen, which then removes the shapes you've used. The game is over when additional pieces are blocked from entering the board, and you're given a score based on how many squares you’ve completed and how long you've survived. This mode isn't as good as the core game, but it's a nice addition to help extend the gameplay even further. Cross Fingers is full of little touches like this, which makes the whole experience feel very polished and satisfying.
The only area where Cross Finger feels overly bare is in the music department. While the sounds are good and very reminiscent of moving wooden blocks around, the game has no music throughout and does not include the ability to play your own. Some players might also like the ability to record a best time for all of the puzzle stages, but it really doesn't feel necessary considering the vibe of Cross Fingers, where progress is its own reward.
Mobigame has done a great job of taking a pretty simple concept that had just enough uniqueness, and then elevating it by marrying it to the strengths of the platform. Cross Fingers is a very serene and intelligent game, and feels like something you can only experience on the iPhone. It's a great puzzler, as well as a nice demonstration of what some multi-touch can offer. It's also a good value at just $0.99, and easily worth the price of admission.
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