App Reviewed on: iPhone 4
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There's never really a check-list for success with anything in life, but if there were then Gravimaze would be ticking all of the boxes of the Decent ios Puzzle Game one. It just does all the things any handheld puzzle game should.
First off, it's simple to understand. Gravimaze is a top-down puzzler, and the aim is get the brown block with the face on it into the portal square while collecting the coins along the way. This is done by rotating the screen 90 degrees with a quick horizontal swipe in the intended direction. The puzzle rotates but gravity stays the same, so all the obstacles and the smiley block fall into gaps that appear below them. The coins and portal squares stay in the same position, though. Gravimaze shows exactly how this works in the first few of its many puzzles. So the idea is to keep rotating the puzzle until all the coins are gotten and the brown block is in the portal square. Simple.
Secondly, it evolves. The puzzles ever so slowly and ever so delicately get more and more complicated; first the number of obstacle blocks increases, then keys and keyholes come along, then spikes, then black holes, then teleports. The game keeps its momentum going through all of its 80 puzzles thanks to the several additions it introduces. No puzzle is ever simple, nor is it ever too hard - after all, not every coin needs to be found, although a certain amount of coins is required to unlock each set of 20 puzzles.
Lastly, it's charming. Not in an obvious, Angry Birds or Cut the Rope kind of way, but more subtly. Each time the brown block is guided to the portal square its expression changes from full-on terrified to quietly content, and it's a nice little rewarding touch for all that effort put into getting him there. In the background some unobtrusive, atmospheric music helps to accentuate the game's Incan theme.
Gravimaze maybe could do with a little more personality, maybe the tiniest of stories just to complement the progression through the puzzles, but it's a real minor complaint. Too many games attempt that kind of thing and fail horribly at it, so deciding to keep things simple is certainly understandable.
While it isn't going to be the best iOS game of the year, Gravimaze is an excellent reminder that reaching for the stars doesn't always get you places. Instead, this top-down puzzler keeps things simple and by doing so totally makes it work. For the current asking price of $1.99, it's just as simple to recommend.