Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 4
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Puzzlejuice proudly claims on its App Store page that it's a game "that will punch your brain in the face." That's quite a declaration but one that also sums up the game perfectly.
Think about the puzzle genre. Tetris is hugely popular and so are word games like SpellTower. Why not combine the two? It's so very obvious yet I've not seen it done before. Not until Puzzlejuice, which truly taxes the brain.
The first few moments of playing Puzzlejuice is much like Tetris. Blocks fall down from the top of the screen and the player must line the blocks up to form a row. The selling point comes from what happens when the row is formed. It doesn't immediately vanish. Instead, the colors turn to letters and the next part of the game is unveiled. To clear these lines, the player has to create a word from the letters. Anything from 3 letters upwards is allowed and diagonal paths are also possible.
The challenge comes from juggling the two trains of thought at all times. Testing spatial abilities and word skills at the same time takes some practice to truly master. A few different modes are available to test players, all are pretty challenging.
Hard mode, despite the name, is the simplest of modes. Every single word spelt causes an explosion that clears surrounding blocks. Once the player figures out how to gain good scores from that, they can move onto Euro Extreme Mode which ensures that words shorter than 5 letters don't cause an explosion, thus adding an extra level of difficulty.
Zen mode sounds calming until the player notices the X at the end of the title. Zen Mode Extreme may ensure that blocks don't drop until the player wants them to but they only have 90 seconds to achieve the best high score.
Further to all that are objectives, such as to spell a 5 letter word or clear a set number of different colors. These go on to unlock powerups to aid the player.
It's all a very potent mix, but Puzzlejuice is tough. It's great fun and those with an expansive vocabulary will particularly reap the benefits of such a crossover title. In terms of accessibility however, I didn't find it quite as addictive as SpellTower, though it does come close.