Developer: Jam Labs, Inc.
Price: Free ($1.99 to unlock Premium)
Version Reviewed: 1.31
Device Reviewed on: iPad3, iPhone5

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

Overall Rating: ★★★★½

A crossword a day helps keep Alzheimer’s away. Or so they say. Instead of working a crossword, get some brain cross-training on with Shape Jam. Players will need to think fast, move fast, and do some mental juggling. They’ll break a figurative sweat with this one.

We’re talking a match-3 type game; one of speed of action and thought. Fans of the card game SET will recognize the concept. Match three tiles that are all similar or all different. For example, a match would consist of three different colors, with three of the same shapes and same numbers. Or make a match in which the colors are different, the shapes are different, and the numbers are different.

photo 2photo 1Each round is 60 seconds. Make as many matches as possible; the most points earned are earned for matches with more differences. Multipliers will appear on specific tiles, but better be quick on the draw in order to get them before they expire. Play three rounds per game against Facebook friends or random opponents. The paid version also comes with single player practice mode, leaderboards, and game statistics.

The game is as addicting and tormenting as Christmas carols in November; at least for those competitive types. Whether engaged in a friendly rivalry or in self-challenge mode, Shape Jam will draw players in. The asynchronous aspect of the app allows for offline gameplay that will sync as soon as online access is restored.

photo 2photo 3The mechanics, sounds, and graphics are simple, but the game will tease the brain. Who said exercise can’t be fun? And no annoying soundtrack – just pops, clicks, and dings. The only downside is that what we see is what we get. No themes, no shape or color changes, no discernible levels. It’s basic. But again, that could be part of its charm. It depends on who’s playing.

Give Shape Jam a go. This game was test-driven on a 10 year-old, 17 year-old, and 38 year-old. All jumped in feet first, and reluctantly put it down when real life called. That’s a good sign.


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