Developer: Premiere Liaison
Price: $0.99
Version: 1.0
App Reviewed on: iPhone 5

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★☆
User Interface Rating: ★★★★☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★½
Re-use / Replay Value Rating: ★★★★½

Overall Rating: ★★★★½

Counting is usually a pretty dull affair. I’m sure most people can think of something more entertaining to do than sit around and make sure there are X number of jelly beans in a jar or some such. But even the most mundane tasks can become fun when the proper video game spin is applied to them. Hence Eighty-Eight, a game that’s all about counting and is actually quite amusing. It’s also kind of like the unofficial sequel to Drop7.

Eighty-Eight incorporates the numbers 1 through 8 and tasks players with making them all disappear. Preferably while chaining together combos, earning tons of badges, and racking up a high score. The playing field is divided into 64 tiles (8 across and 8 down), and every turn a new number or grey block that needs to be broken to reveal its number is presented. In order to remove a number, it must be in a row or column that has the same number of tiles already placed in it: in other words a 4 will go away when it’s in a row or column with a total of exactly 4 blocks. Once a block is removed it changes the number of blocks in play and can thus affect a number of others already on the board to create a cascade of points if players are lucky.

In a lot of ways, Eighty-Eight could be mistaken for a “clone” of Zynga’s own numbers game, but there are a few key differences that make it feel unique. And also better, in my opinion. First is the addition of an eighth number to the mix; it doesn’t sound like much but it enables larger combo strings and allows the game to continue for one extra round, which can make all the difference. The second major difference is the inclusion of bombs that will detonate when a block in their row/column is cleared. There’s also a big emphasis on leaderboards and earning badges, which doesn’t actually net anything fancy but they look nice in the little trophy case.

The biggest concern I have with Eighty-Eight is its initial similarity to another game as there’s a chance it might put off potential players. It uses squares instead of circles and goes up to 8 instead of 7, but they still seem an awful lot alike at first glance. But once things really start moving and bombs begin to go off while badge notifications line the top of the screen it’ll all start to click.

A word of advice when it comes to playing Eighty-Eight: while it might appear simple to the uninitiated or too similar to another game that already has a bunch of fans, don’t be fooled. It’s a great time-devouring numbers game through and through.


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