Developer: gloops, Inc.
Price: FREE
Version Reviewed: 1.2
Device Reviewed On: iPad Mini 2

Graphics/Sound Rating: ★★★★☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★½☆
Playtime Rating: ★★★☆☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★★☆☆

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

Party Pwn is supposed to be a 3D puzzle game, but it really plays like a basic matching game – and a not-so-challenging one at that. Players are assigned the task of helping the hero, Slap, punch through all the matching cubes before the clock runs out. His ultimate goal is to meet up with his party animal friends. The storyline is fairly garbled; I’m not too sure exactly where I am on this “path to find out where Happy and his rabble-rouser buddies are hiding.”

photo 2I will say the graphics are quite eye-catching and imaginative. The zen-like sounds of birds chirping add to the ambiance. But the thrills stop there. This isn’t a bad game, it’s just not a challenging or exciting one. Well, maybe for the younger crowd? Kids around 10?

There are five kingdoms players must navigate, starting with the Empyrean Garden (the others must be unlocked). Although at one point the Bon Bon Bakery should have unlocked, but it didn’t. The squares along the path represent the levels Slap must complete on his so-called quest. Tap the level to play and a maneuverable 3D clump of cubes appears; consisting of various patterns and facial expressions (more cute graphics). Players may only match identical cubes that are on the outside corners. Once matched, both cubes disappear. This may remind many of mahjong solitaire, however I could play that game for hours. This game, not so much. Level after level, it’s just monotonous.

photo 4The goal is to rack up combos quickly to increase one’s score. As the clock ticks, players rush to complete the task at hand – reach a specific score or clear a certain number of puzzles. Party favors are earned along the way; these items are supposed to help when the going gets tough. Tough? The only favor I had to use was the floodlight because that level was dark without it and I needed to see the blocks. Life cubes, power surges, smart bombs, and others are available but I just didn’t see the point. Apparently these might boost the scores enough to earn more stars per level.

There are social aspects for those who want to add some competition. Players can connect to Facebook to challenge friends to join the “party.” Or, click “vs” and join a random party in which they compete for top billing on the charts.

Overall, Party Pwn is a good-looking game but the engagement factor for true puzzle addicts just isn’t there. I recommend it for the younger crowd – the ones who might actually be challenged. Or perhaps as a mindless matching game to calm nerves or kill time. If the game gets spiced up a bit, I’d be willing to revisit it.

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