App Reviewed on: iPhone 3GS
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I’ve noticed that all of the most successful puzzle games have one key commonality: they’re based around incredibly simple mechanics. Tetris makes lines, Bejeweled is about matching three of a kind, and Drop7 uses basic counting/math. Elenints is, in many ways, even more basic than those examples. But that simplicity is what makes it so hard to put down.
The goal of Elenints varies depending on the game type being played, but overall it revolves around placing “numbered” balls on a hexagonal board. Only instead of numbers they hold dots or cells or something of that nature. Placing enough matching balls next to each other will cause them to combine and evolve into a higher-numbered form, occupying the space of the most recently planted orb. So putting a One next to another One will form a Two. Grouping three Twos together will create a Three and so on. It’s super-easy to understand but can become quite difficult to master. Especially when trying to create Fives (or higher) and getting those nasty virus things off the board.
As I’ve said and will continue to say, while Elenints is far from complex it’s incredibly compelling. Creating high-level spheres takes an awful lot of forethought. Remember, they evolve and form into the space that the last one was set, so it’s possible to control where a given number in the evolution ends up. It just takes some planning. Some incredibly careful planning. Especially in some of the more colorful game modes that require players to create specific numbers within a set time limit or placing a set number of “Nints” (i.e. 10 Threes) on the board.
While Elenints is certainly free, and there’s more than a decent amount of entertainment to be had, a good deal of content is gated behind an in-app purchase unlock. Of course it’s just $0.99 and I’d personally consider it well worth the cost, but having so much of the content unavailable from the start is a shame. I’d almost prefer all of the initial Phase levels to be available on Normal, with all other modes and the Hard difficulty requiring an in-app purchase (IAP). Being able to sample a little of everything is nice, but personally I’d be more interested in sampling one particular aspect more thoroughly.
I think the fact that the only gripe I have about Elenints is more than a little nit-picky should be indicative of just how much I enjoy it. It’s simple enough to learn that virtually anyone can play it, but complex enough in other game modes and difficulties to tax even the most math-minded iOS gamer. This is a game that’s definitely worth playing, folks. I can’t be any clearer than that.