Developer: IUGO
Price: $1.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0.0

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★☆
Game Controls Rating: ★★★★☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★☆

iPhone Integration Rating: ★★★★☆
User Interface Rating: ★★★★☆

Re-use / Replay Value Rating: ★★★★☆

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

IMG_0174We first saw Implode! back in October. Now that the demolition game from IUGO, creators of the excellent Toy Bot Diaries series, has hit the App Store, I can say that it’s truly a blast. A combination of physics and dynamite? Count me in.

Implode! is all about making buildings crumble. Touch and drag controls combined with a magnifying glass allow you to precisely place your sticks of dynamite with the “chalk-drawn” structure of a building. (Dear IUGO: I love you for including a lefty option for the magnifying glass!) As the game progresses, you’ll eventually have two types of bombs—traditional and “blast” bombs&#8212in your arsenal. Your goal is to cause the structure to explode (implode?) in such a way that the bits and pieces fall as far below the dotted line as possible. At the end of each level, you’re given both a letter grade and a monetary “payout.”

The premise is simple, but as with any good physics puzzler, developing a winning strategy takes time and patience. I’ve slowly worked my way from D and C averages to C’s and B’s, and I’ve snagged one A, but an A+ remains elusive for me. Thankfully, there are three difficulty levels: Causal, Veteran, and Expert. I’m battling through Veteran right now, and I’ve tried the other two; your bombs’ effectiveness, among other functions, varies between difficulty levels. So, for example, a clumsy solution that sufficed in Casual mode will fail miserably in Veteran mode.

IMG_0172Implode! has an adequate number of levels: 60, to be exact, divided into six zones. (A set number of levels must be completed before the next zone unlocks, allowing you to bypass particularly difficult levels, to a point.) You can blow through those in a few days if you’re devoted (and talented) but there’s more than enough replay value to keep you occupied. The building structures also pack a good amount of variety, and new elements—like indestructible beams or nearby buildings that can’t be affected—force you to shift your strategies.

There’s also a “sandbox” cheat mode, in which you’re given an unlimited number of bombs, but high scores are disabled. That’s all fine and dandy, but you’ll need to register with IUGO and successfully refer a friend to the game in order to unlock it. It’s a pity, because using tons of bombs and watching the planks go flying is one of the best parts of the game, but you can certainly live without the feature.

The graphical style of Implode! is a nice touch, too. I’m always a fan of sketch-and-chalkboard themes, even if they are a bit cliche, and IUGO has executed this one nicely. (The little doodles hanging out in the background are favorites of mine.) The physics engine is solid, and the tumbling blocks look great. Sadly, the sound effects are lackluster and far from awe-inspiring, but at least you have the option to turn them off and use your iPod instead.

My biggest gripe is the lack of auto-save; that is, if you exit to the home screen, you’ll lose your carefully-placed bombs. At least you won’t lose much, but couldn’t the game at least remember what level you were on? It’s no deal-breaker, but I’d like to see this function in an update. (Really, this should be a standard…)

That being said, Implode! is a satisfying game. There’s nothing earth-shatteringly new about it, but it’s a solid, light-hearted physics puzzler that should elicit a grin from your destructive side. If dynamite and strategy sound like a good combination to you, IUGO’s latest offering should suit your tastes.

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