Developer: Immanitas Entertainment GmbH
Price: $0.99
Version: 1.0.7
App Reviewed on: iPad 3

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★☆☆
User Interface Rating: ★★★☆☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★☆
Re-use / Replay Value Rating: ★★★★☆

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

Comfort food. Everybody has something that they like to eat when they can’t decide what they want but know it isn’t “that.” It’s usually not fancy or even all that expensive, and chances are it’s not healthy in the slightest, but it’s the kind of food that can flip a person’s mood after a bad day. Jelly All Stars is kind of like that. It’s nothing fancy, but it does a good job of scratching the “group clusters of colored blocks together and destroy them with special items puzzle game” itch.

Jelly All Stars is a puzzle game for puzzle game fans who don’t want to strass themselves out or think too much for a little while. Little colored smiley blobs fall from the top of the screen in groups of two, and players have to use a series of virtual buttons to move them into their desired locations. Once a group of like-colored jellies gets big enough (three vertical, three horizontal, two-by-two, etc) they combine to form one large blob with an even bigger smiley face. The only way to clear them is to touch a matching star to the group, which will clear out every single like-colored character in the chain all at once. A few special power-ups drop from time to time that will clear a specific area, destroy all of a single color, and so on, but it’s primarily about bursting groups with stars.

This is a puzzle game formula that many are familiar with, and as such should make puzzle fans (or at least fans of this particular formula) feel right at home. Even if someone has never played a game like it before it’s incredibly easy to pick up Jelly All Stars and just play. Mix that with the oddly catchy tunes and it makes the sort of game that can melt away minutes or even hours if given the chance.

Jelly All Star’s classic feel and simplicity also work against it, however. None of the little details that have become typical of iOS puzzlers are present; meaning no unlockables, no upgrades, no profile leveling, and no other sorts of incremental progressions. It’s just blobs, the occasional bomb, and a high score. Another issue I was surprised to come across was the sheer lack of difficulty, or rather the extremely slow difficulty progression. It takes this game a looooooong time to ramp up to any sort of challenge which makes the early stages feel like a major grind.

In the end Jelly All Stars doesn’t do a single thing new for the kind of puzzle game it’s representing, but that’s not always important. Aside from a slow burn it’s a respectably entertaining title that great for some light “snacking.”


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