Developer: B-Base Development
Price: $1.99
Version Reviewed: 1.2

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

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

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

Melody Match is a new twist on the classic card-matching game using—you guessed it—sound clips instead of flash cards. Some of the melodies are real treats for the ear, and the game uses a variety of themes, ranging from snippets of Bach and Mozart to upbeat Brazilian tunes to traditional songs like Yankee Doodle. The idea has been implemented well, and if you’re a fan of matching games, you should definitely take this one for a spin; with fifty levels, Melody Match will provide you with a lasting, enjoyable challenge.

The gameplay works as you’d expect; just like any matching game, you don’t need a huge introduction before jumping in. Tap a tile, and music notes spiral from it as a brief clip plays. Tap another tile, and you’ll hear another melody; if they match, they’ll clear. If not, well, you’ve wasted a step.

Steps are a maddening function in Melody Match, but they’re a great replacement for the traditional timer method. Instead of trying to race a clock, you’ve only got so many steps per level—flip too many non-matching tiles, and you’ll end up failing. Of course, you get the option to try again, which leaves you swearing that you just need one more try in order to get it right; paradoxically, it also keeps exasperation at bay by preventing endless games. That “one more time!” sensation is part of what marks Melody Match as a keeper. It’s surprisingly fun for such a simple game.

The game had plenty of things going for it: a plethora of levels, solid graphics, a simple, functional set of controls, and, of course, its special take on the matching genre. There are also a few extra perks beyond the main Arcade mode, too. Free Play basically lets you set your own level, using sound sets that you’ve unlocked in Arcade mode, which is good, as there’s no easy way to replay random levels in Arcade mode without destroying your current game. Record lets you record your own set of custom sounds and use them in Free Play. With Shout It Out, you record a message that’ll be played at the end of your next game (if you give your phone to a friend, for example, you can leave them a clever surprise.) Personally, I like sticking with the main game, though Record can be a really diverting feature to play with. (iPod touch users will need mics, of course.)

There is some room for improvement in Melody Match. For one, you can’t set up a Free Play game from the Free Play section itself; instead of asking you to configure the game prior to beginning, Melody Match forces you to use its in-game options, located in the main menu. It’s not too troublesome, especially if you don’t really care about Free Play, but you don’t unlock the options at the same time as Free Play mode. Also, some of the sounds could use some work. I love the classical pieces and most of the other clips, but some of the others just aren’t that great. The animal sounds are often obnoxious (creatures screeching in your ears, anyone?) and some of the instruments, such as the harmonica, sound overly synthetic. Thankfully, most of the levels revolve around the better audio pieces.

If you like memory games, you’re probably tired of the dull clones flooding the App Store. Melody Match provides a nice change of pace. I’m not a big fan of memory games myself, but I was quickly absorbed. With its (usually) lush sounds, polished feel, and unique gameplay, it’s one that I suspect will appeal to many. If you hate matching games or find them boring, obviously, I’d avoid Melody Match, but to fans of the genre, it’s a great find.

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