Developer: Streaming Colour
Price: $0.99
Version: 1.0
App Reviewed on: new iPad

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

Overall Rating: ★★★★½

Whew, are my fingers tired. The latest game from Streaming Colour, Finger Tied, kept my digits a-trippin’ across the iPad screen until they were plum wore out. It’s lucky that Finger Tied is a delightful and polished puzzle game with just the right amount of reward and challenge for players who crave a fun party game as well as those who like to bend their mind–and phalanges–into knots.

The puzzle genre has never felt so comfortable as it does in Finger Tied. The iPad screen is filled with a grid on each level, with anywhere from one to four different shape/color combinations. Users must clear each level by tapping and dragging each shape from its starting point to its end point, both defined already by the level, filling in all the dark spaces with color. The game starts simply, rewarding gamers with every simple level completed, forming a tutorial of sorts throughout the entire Beginner set of 12 levels. Don’t get cocky, though, as even the Easy levels require some vigorous amounts of thinking and skillful dexterity, starting at around level 17 of 25. There are then subsequent Medium (30 levels) and Hard (35 levels) stages to get through as well.

Players will truly appreciate the music as well as the subtle visual cues as shapes are dragged about the grid in ever increasingly difficult patterns. The score is fairly benign, even unobtrusive, but not bland. It won’t become annoying after a few loops, either. When tapped, the shapes are highlighted with a same-color circle, allowing even players with larger fingers to see where their digits sit on the game board. The squares available for movement to are also gently highlighted with a gentle white glow, giving gamers even more visual and spatial cues as they work out their circuitious routes to the end squares.

This would be a fantastic game even if that’s where it ends. Luckily, it doesn’t. Finger Tied is the perfect party game, allowing as many players as have hands (up to four) to join in the fun. The video below shows a group of young, attractive people playing the game together, and enjoying it immensely. There’s also a level creator which may be the most intuitive I’ve ever used; simply define the number of fingers to use, then tap and drag a path for players to figure out. If the level creator can’t get their fingers to complete the level, neither can end users. What a brilliant way to make levels are fair and not broken.

All in all, whether played singly or in groups, Finger Tied is a sparkling way to spend some quality gaming time on the iPad. The music, visuals, and solid level design–as well as the endless potential of user-created levels–will guarantee this game a place on my iPad for a long time.

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