Developer: Artbit Studios
Price: FREE
Version Reviewed: 1.0
App Reviewed on: iPhone 4S

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

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

Cute, quirky, addictive, and smart – indie game Zez amazes, captivates, and delights, and achieves this without huge amounts of needless frustration. This is exactly the kind of game that needs no gimmicks, no storyline, and no pointless trimmings; it just depends on its cute personality and engaging gameplay to win the player over. And this is something it achieves from its initial launch.

Needing no introduction and only the slightest nudge of a tutorial, I am literally dropped into a splash of bright color and profound animation. And as I launch ‘kitty’ into the heavens, so begins a fantastic original twist on what is essentially a basic match-3 puzzler giving me only 60 seconds to blast as many rows of duplicate robots as possible before the time runs out.

IMG_1725IMG_1732It’s a golden nugget; a beautiful time-waster, and it does not need all the bells and whistles that would normally be expected from such a top-quality game. Zez has been given the utmost attention and dedication in its creation; its design and presentation simply speaks for itself. It’s the sound effects that give me that burst of excitement as I play, creating a buzz and enthusiasm like no other. The turbulent blast and din of the extermination of robots delivered especially to make one feel determined to press on until the 60 second buzzer sounds and ‘kitty’ falls straight back down in a sudden descent – hurtling down to immobilize what I can only describe as a giant cyclops.

There’s only one genuinely disappointing component in this remarkably well-crafted game, and that’s a distinct lack of any challenges or special objectives that may well have given it a higher degree of replay value. There’s also no leaderboard to speak of, which can detract from any sense of direction or purpose. Instead, players are rewarded with various combo bonuses that boost speed and allow them to unlock a ‘frenzy’ mode, which is just a flourishing display of color and sound that lasts for as long as the player can continue their destruction.

IMG_1731IMG_1721Although in-game currency is present in the form of bolts, I have yet to discover any benefit from these at all other than the ability to perhaps contribute toward leveling up, which in turn unlocks fists. I was a bit taken aback by the idea that I could spend $1.99 and above in order to purchase 75000 ‘bolts’ to perhaps put towards these ‘fists.’ Judging by the gameplay, if I didn’t just purchase them outright, it could possibly take a very long time to unlock these as I was earning at the maximum of 100 fists per run-through. This is a little disheartening as the game itself is so solid, and evidently accomplishes everything it sets out to achieve to a high standard.

Aside from this though, for someone like myself who enjoys a little tinker around in a tremendously entertaining match-3 puzzler, Zez ticks all the correct boxes.

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