Price: Free ($4.99 in-app purchase for remaining 80 levels)
Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPad 1G
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Pinch 2 HD is a puzzle game, a sequel to the cleverly titled original game, Pinch. The goal is to drag colored objects called norbs to the goal, with a variety of switches, buttons, colored gates, and other traps that must be navigated in order to accomplish this. Many of these gates will only allow a particular color through, so mixing the colors becomes a key mechanic to master. Pinch 2 HD is similar to the original, although this version of the game is designed exclusively for the iPad's larger screen, making it easier to use multitouch controls, along with the game's other modified and refined elements. The game is freemium, coming with 20 levels available for free, and additional levels available via in-app purchase.
Pinch 2 HD has an ingenious medaling system. There are 4 medals to obtain - one for getting all norbs in the goal, one for completing in under the given time, one for not exceeding a given number of pinches, and one for collecting all stars in the level. It isn't necessarily possible to collect all 4 medals at once in a level, but earning a medal once earns it permanently, so it is possible to collect all medals through multiple playthroughs. It's one of those ingenious tricks that a game can pull off that makes me respect the design even more, as well as increasing the reply value of it. The game actually supports both landscape and portrait orientation, as well as Game Center support for achievements.
Now, the problem with the speed medals is that time doesn't stop once the prerequisite number of norbs are in the goal, so it becomes not just about getting norbs in quickly, but about also quickly rushing to hit the finish button as soon the level is done. Also, a quick restart button would be extremely handy, as there are often puzzles where it is possible to get trapped without any escape. More level themes would be appreciated as well, especially as the current art style feels like it could be a bit more polished and style.
Pinch 2 HD can be a real brain-teaser, with levels that are extremely challenging, especially if the player's goal is to collect all the medals. It requires a lot of outside-the-box thinking, and can be maddening at times. The game never loses that simplicity to play, though, as the core mechanics never get overwhelmed by the overarching elements. The game is also colorblind-friendly if the color mixing elements are a concern. The free levels are at least worth a try for iPad owners.