Developer: Coconut Island
Price: $0.99
Version Reviewed: 1.02
Device Reviewed On: iPod Touch

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

Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆

I’m always on the lookout for another casual puzzle game, the kind that I can keep on my iPod to play when I’ve only got a few minutes or when I need a break from the latest big release title. Finger Balance, from Coconut Island, fits firmly into the genre. But, is it worth those precious few minutes?

Finger Balance really should have been called Thumb Balance, because it’s all in the thumbs. You touch your thumbs to the screen, activating a balance bar upon which sits a ball. By careful maneuvering, you must navigate the through a maze to the end of a level. The trick is, the ball cannot touch the walls of the maze.

The basic mechanic is novel enough, and the variety of boards is sufficient enough, that each level is a new challenge. Keeping your thumbs in sync is harder than it sounds.
 The difficulty level of boards varies widely. While things, on the whole, progress from easy to hard, there are some of the 30 levels that will make you want to tear your hair out, and others that you’ll breeze through on the first try.

Since puzzles go quickly (you’ll either succeed or fail in under a minute), it definitely falls in the realm of casual pocket games. Once you beat a level, though, there won’t be much to draw you back. There are “goal times,” presumably set by developers with deft thumbs, that are nigh impossible to hit on the first go. While you might be able to meet them with some practice, you won’t want to. It’s just not worth the effort; there’s a novelty to the game, but not an enduring one. As such, you’ll probably shoot through the 30 levels pretty quickly. Developers of Coconut Island have promised monthly additions, which should help improve the game’s longevity.

The graphical presentation is nothing special. Colors tend towards orange, red, brown, and teal, and to be honest it comes off as a little ugly. Sound effects are incidental, and the music is mediocre; you can mute both, but they have not enabled the iPod for playing during the game.

If you’re the kind of player who likes to crunch through puzzle games, and you’re looking for another one to add to the queue, then Finger Balance may be worth your buck. If you’re not the puzzle gaming sort, then do not go out of your way to catch this one.

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