Developer: Specter Studios
Price: $1.99
Version Reviewed: 1.1
Device Reviewed On: iPod Touch

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

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

In science class you’re led to believe that chemistry is tricky, and that particles with differing charges are constantly crashing into each other and swapping electrons in a delicate dance that basically keeps the universe from melting into goo. Particle Panic has a simpler approach, where you must match up opposing particles to fuse them together and advance to the next stage. While the science may be a bit more simplistic, that doesn’t mean the game is easy. In fact, Particle Panic’s complexity is both its most interesting feature as well as its biggest liability.

The game starts off simply by asking players to match “quarks” of different colors in order to set off a reaction. Things get a bit tricky right off the bat as only certain hues may be paired, so you have to keep an eye out for the perfect atom to match with another onscreen. As the game progresses things get even more complicated, as extra factors such as polarity and spin get added into the equation, and now not only do you have to worry about colors, but other factors as well.

While the game tries to introduce new gimmicks at a steady rate they quickly become overwhelming, and it isn’t long before your brain simply locks up while trying to keep track of it all. The fact that the initial colors that form the basis of the game aren’t easily identifiable at a glance (green and yellow look very similar, and who though matching red to cyan would be wise?), mean that pairing particles with the correct mate is hard enough to start with, not even taking into account all the other factors that come up later. By the time you’re trying to find mates for the double-positive charged atom with an upward spin it’s all a little too much. The game could really use a Zen mode or some other less-stressful version where you could take out some of the more complicated mechanics and just focus on the core gameplay.

Though the game may grow a bit too complex too quickly it’s still rather enjoyable, and fans of fast-paced puzzle games may get quite a kick out of it. The app also boasts an impressive soundtrack, so if nothing else the game is good for kicking back with some cool tunes. This is a fairly decent game for a specific niche of fans, but it’s likely too complex and difficult to really appeal to the mass market.

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