Developer: Press OK Entertainment
Price: $0.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 3G, iPad

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

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

2009′s Finger Physics was immensely popular, and a fun physics puzzle game to boot. Press OK was tasked with creating a sequel that would follow up on the original’s foundations but to be different enough to be worth playing even for fans of the original. And so, Finger Physics: Thumb Wars is based around the concept of countries competing through high scores to propel their country to victory. Your high scores on levels are added to your country and state’s totals, helping to lead them to the top of the leaderboards.

There are two types of gameplay in Finger Physics: Thumb Wars – levels where you have to manipulate objects to get a blue star ball to come in contact with the spinning goal, trying to collect stars along the way for bonus points, and construction levels where you are given blocks to stack up in a way such that none of them fall off of the stage after 3 seconds.

Finger Physics: Thumb Wars is definitely a different game than its predecessor, while still playing similarly, due to the narrower focus on the 2 level types. This difference makes the game feel familiar while still being something new, which I applaud Press OK for doing. It would have been easy to just make some new levels and call it a day, but they really did decide to try to change up this sequel. And for the most part, it works. This is still a fun physics puzzler, and the focus on star collection gives you an optimal goal to shoot for in the levels, and the nationalism-based high score system means that there is incentive to really play for high scores.

The menu layouts in the game are unintuitive and confusing, often using strange wording and odd layouts to make them a challenge to properly use. Even just changing the “Back to Game” text to “Resume” would make things a lot easier to comprehend. The original Finger Physics was notable in part for its multiple puzzle types, and Thumb Wars’ reduction to only 2 types is disappointing as the game feels more homogenized than the original did, even when elements such as magnetic blocks and exploding blocks come into play. It’s just the same basic 2 goals – either get the star ball to the goal or build a ‘stable’ structure. I say stable loosely, as the structure you build can be falling entirely apart when the 3 second timer starts, all you need to do is keep all the pieces on screen.

Finger Physics: Thumb Wars does a good job at differentiating itself and adding the novel country competition mechanic, but the monotonous gameplay and frustrating menu layouts drag the game down. This is a solid entry into the physics puzzle game genre, but its flaws keep it from truly being one of the best.

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