Developer: Mark Alexander
Price: $0.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0.2
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 5

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

Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆

Encapsulating a puzzle concept that has been around for over 30 years, Pixoban is a pretty sturdy and sometimes challenging puzzle game. It’d be all the better if it wasn’t for its very off-putting control method.

pixoban5Across 126 levels, players must help Pixo the alien place various crates of rubbish on airlock portals in order to blow them out into space, and thereby progress to the next stage. It’s a relatively straightforward aim with one very important rule to consider: Pixo isn’t able to pull the crates, only push them through the corridors. Given the corridors are frequently quite twisty or narrow, this immediately restricts one’s flexibility in transporting things around.

While the first few levels are quite simply finished, it’s not long before the challenge is substantially increased. Players must plan each move carefully for fear of getting trapped or failing miserably. There’s no hint button either, so it’s solely down to the player’s logic skills. There is, however, a way of undoing each step of the way in order to make up for one’s mistakes. Each level is given a star rating though, so to truly beat the game, players need to be both fast and accurate.

pixoban3This all sounds quite good, right? It almost is but some crucial control issues let the game down. Players have to tap on the screen in the direction they wish to go, but oddly it’s really not as accurate as it should be. Far too often did I find myself going down or up when I meant to go left or right, and placed my finger at the appropriate side. There’s also the small issue of having to place one’s tap relatively near to Pixo for it to register, rather than just anywhere on the screen. As the game judges players on how many moves it takes to complete a section, it can be frustrating to be punished unfairly.

It’s disappointing that Pixoban isn’t quite as well designed as it looks. There’s a fun block pushing experience here, but it’s hampered by such control problems.

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