App Reviewed on: iPhone 3GS
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There's this line on Adrenaline Monki's website that reads: "The Mooniz are coming, prepare to run! (Out of battery)" At first it seemed corny and a little pretentious, but after playing Mooniz for only a few minutes it's easy to see that they weren't just blowing smoke. This game is most certainly addictive in that special "Just one more game" kind of way, although it can start to feel impossible around level four or five. Good thing it's easy to immediately jump right back into another game after losing.
Mooniz is a simple little puzzle game with just a touch of physics and a lot of color-matching. Each round starts with groupings of different Mooniz of various colors, along with a time limit and empty star counter. Tapping groups of three or more like-colors will remove them from the screen while the remainders pour in to fill the void and new entrants fall in from the top. If enough of the colorful things are removed in one tap stars are produced, and if players can't earn enough stars before the clock hits zero it's Game Over. The Classic mode starts off slow with only three kinds of the little buggers and fairly low star requirements that will start to get bigger from round to round. Rush mode, on the other hand, has a flat 90-second timer and is all about getting the highest score possible before it runs out.
Don't go assuming that Mooniz is a mindless game, though. Simply tapping on groups of critters will only accomplish so much in the early stages. The real trick is to utilize power-ups like multipliers, paint grenades and more in order to maximize scoring and star-gathering possibilities. This goes double for Rush mode, where netting a hundred stars will activate Madness Mode and offer up huge scoring opportunities. And a big score means more coins.
Ah, coins. My biggest gripe about Mooniz. Coins are used to purchase special extra-powerful power-ups, priced anywhere from twenty five to thirty for each group of three. It's certainly possible to earn enough coins through regular play to purchase some of these uber-weapons, but once bought they only last for three games before it's back to saving up coins in order to buy some more. These tiny bits of non-existent currency can be earned another way, however: through in-app purchases. I'm not all that crazy about the practice of using "freemium" content in paid games no matter how widely accepted it may be, but luckily none of these super power-ups are actually necessary. At least not to the casual player who could care less about leaderboards.
Mooniz is one of those iOS gems that hits an almost perfect balance between accessibility and nuance. Absolutely anyone can pick it up and just "get it" within seconds, but it'll take a lot more than mere comprehension to get even remotely close to the top of that scoreboard. I'm going to have to agree with the developers on this one: Prepare to run out of battery, indeed.