Developer: Simple Step Studio
Price: Free
Version Reviewed: 1.0.2
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 4S

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

Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆

twinkle wheel 1Sometimes, when a game doesn’t “click” right away, it’s because it needs some effort put into it before revealing how the fun works. Eventual enjoyment replaces initial disappointment. Twinkle Wheel kind of does this. However, when the fun is revealed, it’s not a revelation, but another kind of disappointment.

Twinkle Wheel is a puzzle game that feels like a cross between Wheel of Fortune and a Rubik’s Cube. Players are presented with a wheel broken up into three layers made up of multicolored segments. The goal is to spin each layer to match “slices” of the wheel by color and earn points. While it’s easy enough to just carefully move each layer one segment at a time, to get the highest scores under the time limit, players will want to have all three layers spinning simultaneously. Then, once the proper colors have aligned, a simple touch will yield big points. The achievement system makes sure players know their risky strategies are being noticed. Well-used power-ups like the combo-multiplying rainbow ability add even more excitement, in theory.

Unfortunately, the game isn’t nearly as exciting in practice. Spinning the wheel, which should feel great and tactile, is slow and awkward. Even when it does work, the mechanic itself, while functional, lacks the addictive hook that makes playing a great puzzle game its own reward. The score-based challenge mode gives more incentive for replays but the game mistakenly highlights the boring, infinite, normal mode. Twinkle Wheel wants to be a relaxing, meditative game but it ends up more tepid than tranquil. Some better visuals might help. As it stands, the game looks like a typical flash casino game, which isn’t terrible, but it’s certainly not trance-inducing. The real shame though is the uninspired music. Good, soothing music is essential for a game supposedly about relaxation.

Still, mishandled messaging isn’t Twinkle Wheel’s real problem. The real problem is that actually spinning the wheel, what the game is all about, goes nowhere.


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