Developer: NaturalMotion Games
Price: $0.99
Version: 1.1
App Reviewed on: iPhone 4

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★½
Game Controls Rating: ★★★½☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★½
Replay Value Rating: ★★★★☆

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

Just when you think they have finally taken the iOS to the pinnacle of places it never belonged, developers manage to find a way to morph a game that is, by its nature, a social experience and transform it into a solitary activity. It would be easy to assume that a game like Jenga would be impossible to replicate on a two dimensional axis, but not only does it manage to pull it off, it stands as an example of how far gaming has come over the last thirty years. Our parents used to have to stack wooden bricks for fun. We get to poke, pinch and prod our way to balancing supremacy. If that isn’t progress, then what is?

When it comes to physics games, Jenga is easily the granddaddy of them all, and it has been that way since the mid 1980s. Developer NaturalMotion games went back to the drawing board, with the help of the original creator, Leslie Scott, in order to create the most complete translation of the game to the iOS. The resulting product is quite possibly the puzzlers most complete electronic approximation to date.

Forgoing the common sense route of taking advantage of the iPhone 4′s gyroscope controls, the game instead uses a series of onscreen touch controls to manipulate this teetering tower of chaos. All of the standard poke, pull and flick controls are all at your disposal, just minus the actual tactile feedback. In fact, sensing the balance that is probably the most difficult mechanic to grasp.

Complimenting the standard pass’n’play mode, which is playable by up to four players at a time, a new arcade mode, which was included with the recently released Jenga console game, has also joined the mix. This variation on the traditional gameplay revolves around matching and lining up a series of colors, in order to earn bonuses and multipliers. No matter how you look at it, this a value add that helps to indefinitely prolong the appeal.

Going against the notion that it was impossible, NaturalMotion games has accomplished the feat of shrinking Jenga to fit into your pocket. Everything that you could ever want is there, showing that just about anything is possible on iOS. Now if only they could find it in their hearts to patch in a gyro based control scheme…

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