148Apps Network Post
Developer: Continuous Integration, Inc.
Price: $0.99
Version: 1.0
App Reviewed on: iPhone 3GS
Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★☆
User Interface Rating: ★★★★☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★☆
Re-use / Replay Value Rating: ★★★★☆

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

Update: 3/7/12, Version 1.01

So pretty much a week after our review, Continuous Integration made a couple of changes to RPS Rumble. First and more immediately noticeable is the shift from free to $0.99. Before anyone goes and gets antsy, the reason they’ve started charging for this initially free game is because they’ve included more levels. A lot more. Now it feels like a full game rather than a sampler platter of sorts. They’ve also removed the limit for the “undo” button, so players can simply keep hitting it until they reach the spot where they think everything went wrong. It does wonders to improve the flow of the puzzles and all but eliminates the need to dive into the menu to restart.

I wonder, is there a culture out there in the world somewhere that doesn’t have something similar to Rocks, Paper, Scissors? I’m not entirely sure. Granted, I’m sure they aren’t all about stones, reconstituted tree pulp and sharp things, but it’s still a very universal concept. And as a universal concept, it should be pretty easy for anyone to come to grips with RPS Rumble‘s core mechanics. Chances are good they’ll get a good laugh out of the colorful Mexican wrestling motif, too.

The general idea of RPS Rumble is to cover, crush, and cut each tile until only one remains. Things are a bit dressed-up with colorful graphics and goofy Luchador masks for each of the three “elements,” but the core gameplay is very straightforward. Such a simple concept but oh my goodness does it get tough. Even the mid-level stages had me scratching my head and restarting constantly, and there are still two more difficulties above that.

Maybe it’s just because I have something of an offbeat sense of humor, but slapping Mexican wrestling masks on the game pieces is very funny to me. I also love the expressions they make, which are both humorous and useful. Selecting a rock will make any scissors it can jump to grimace, which is a clever indicator of which moves are “legal.” I also have to say I’m impressed with just how excruciatingly difficult the later puzzles can get. Even with this somewhat limited freemium build it’s possible to get a few solid hours of beatdowns in. Having multiple solutions to each puzzle also encourages a few replays when the mood strikes.

The only real problem with RPS Rumble is that there aren’t a whole lot of puzzles to play around with. Not initially, anyway. After an in-app purchase or two (individual level packs can be bought or everything can be unlocked for $2.99) the number climbs exponentially, but a small fraction of those 140 puzzles are all that are available for free. I’m not saying it should all be free, because that would sort of go against the idea of actually earning money, but I feel like having just a few more would be nice. Heck, even if 20 of them were open from the start (double the current amount) there would still be another 120 to go.

Mileage will vary depending on an individual’s tenacity and puzzle-solving ability, but RPS Rumble will inevitably reach a point where there’s nothing left to do without spending some money. It’s certainly fun enough that I’d encourage taking The Plunge, but as a free-to-play experience, even an ad-free one, it feels a bit too short. It’s definitely a good time while it lasts, though.

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