App Reviewed on: iPhone 5
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Grid 101 just received its latest update a few days ago, and the results are definitely positive. The interface and visuals have been cleaned up a little bit, and most importantly it's a lot easier to tell when a box is about to fall in the Patterns and Chisel Chamber modes. Unfortunately grabbing and moving tiny pixels is still a bit spotty, but overall it's much easier to simply play and enjoy it and the scores have been adjusted to reflect these changes.
A pixilated puzzle game sounds like an awesome idea, right? Especially one that offers a ton of replayable game modes right from the start. It’s just unfortunate that in Grid 101’s case the mechanics still need a fair amount of polishing.
Grid 101 is basically four games in one. Patterns requires players to recreate a series of increasingly complex configurations by spinning a falling block around and “shooting” red and blue pixels at it from opposing sides of the screen until it matches. Chisel Chamber is a similar idea, only instead of constructing a given pattern it needs to be chiseled out of a solid block by tapping on pixel-removing shooters on both sides of the screen. Pixel is a slightly more traditional match-3 style game only in drops a 3X3 block of pixels that can be moved, rotated, and broken up into individual pieces. Finally there’s Polycount, which is similar to Pixel only it’s a grid of numbers that must be matched up in specific sequences to disappear and earn points.
Each of Grid 101’s modes offers a ton of replay value for high score chasers. Heck, they also offer up a rather extensive assortment of options so even if players get sick of one of them they can always move to another. It also features a pretty enjoyable soundtrack assuming dubstep isn’t an issue.
However even with all the replayability and gameplay options it’s kind of hard to enjoy Grid 101 to its fullest. The core mechanics just don’t feel responsive enough. Tapping to rotate the giant blocks is okay, but moving them is a little spotty. Even worse is trying to move the smaller individual pixels. It’s also frustrating that the larger blocks can’t be fused back together once they’re broken up. I would’ve thought Patterns and Chisel Chamber might be easier but the blocks have a tendency to fall at just the wrong pace, which can totally throw off a shot and force an undo. Which brings me to the power ups. They’re numerous to start and can be used for a number of situations, but they’re finite. Once the last “Undo” is gone, there won’t be an option to fix a mistake unless players shell out real cash for more. Sure $0.99 for about 30 of everything isn’t too bad but it adds up.
I really wanted to like Grid 101, and it does have a few things going for it, but it’s just too difficult to control with any real precision. If I make a mistake I want it to be because of something I did, not because of a tap not registering properly or an object shifting downward at exactly the wrong moment.