Developer: Forge Reply
Price: $1.99
Version: 1.1
App Reviewed on: iPhone 5

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★½☆
User Interface Rating: ★★★½☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★½
Re-use / Replay Value Rating: ★★★½☆

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

There seems to be little to no actual vengeance happening in Master of Alchemy Vengeance Front. Unless fiddling with the various physical properties of liquid counts as getting even in some bizarre way. Fortunately the lack of a good and proper revenge plot has no impact on the quirky physics puzzles.

The goal of each level in Master of Alchemy Vengeance Front is to simply get a particular amount of colored fluid into a measuring dish. Actually meeting such a goal requires a bit more effort thanks to the almost labyrinthine structures that have to be circumvented. Positioning and rotating flat platforms to guide little droplets around is only the beginning. Eventually players will have to separate/combine substances on the fly, use heating elements to melt ice into water and then turn that water to vapor, and a whole bunch more. All the items needed to complete a level are supplied at the start but its up to the player to figure out where and how to position them. And it takes even more manipulating if they want to gather up all the gems scattered throughout the stage for bonus points.

There’s a surprising amount of cleverness to Master of Alchemy Vengeance Front’s simplicity. The previously mentioned bit about running ice through two different heaters to create steam is just one example. These levels can be quite complex and oddly simple at the same time once the particulars have been figured out, and it’s quite satisfying to do so. New bits and pieces are introduced on a fairly regular basis to keep things from getting stale while simultaneously providing players with new challenges to piece together. It’s also just fun to mess around with.

What bothers me about Vengeance Front is the lack of any clear indication of completion criteria beyond simply getting, say, 15 red and 15 blue water drops into the cup at the end. There’s nothing that explains what has to happen to earn Gold (as opposed to Bronze or Silver) for a given level, as far as I can tell. It makes replaying a puzzle difficult because I’m not entirely sure what I’m aiming for in order to nab a better rank. The touch controls are also a little wonky at times, at least on the iPhone 5’s smaller screen. It’s not a significant enough problem as to ruin the fun, but it does get a bit frustrating to accidentally move the screen when I meant to reposition a platform or have to tap and drag multiple times for the intended rotation to register.

I Still have no idea why this alchemist is so focused on revenge, or how they’re actually getting said revenge by gathering fluids in a cup. Good thing Master of Alchemy Vengeance Front is still plenty of fun without any sensible exposition.

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