App Reviewed on: iPhone 5s
Graphics / Sound Rating:
Replay Value Rating:
When you think of the best attributes that an iPhone can lend to a gaming experience, the most common response can be both the hardware’s greatest strength and weakness: that touch screen. While constructing mechanics around the ease and size of the iPhone’s screen doesn’t break anything remotely close to new ground among iOS gaming, there are only a handful of titles that refine the sensation into something that balances a genuine sense of reward and immersion. Eric Koziol understands this philosophy, and developed Rainblocks around a slew of other creative nuances to reinvigorate the slide-tile puzzle archetype into an entirely new game that’s a delight to play the moment it boots past the title screen.
5th generation devices bring a vibrant sense of life to the title, as the colors and symbols that permeate the screen display a palate that can easily include dozens of colors on screen all at once. The presentation charmingly resonates with the simple animations and music that convey a humble verve of energy that too few games of its ilk possess.
This unique puzzler revels in the fact that the challenge of testing your reflexes against the frenetic nature of color recognizance is the least strenuous part to winning the game. Because you’re not just sliding tiles: you'll have swap and slide against horrible weather that pits the elements against you. It will have you pairing specific colors targeted at the top of the screen and constantly shift to the next color, rewarding tacitly choreographed positioning with subsequent pairs on screen to create a chain effect. The endless arrangement is engineered at escalating players into a constant struggle of staying ahead of the clock, and carrying about an apt sense of awareness in order to stay alive.
You'll find yourself under siege from a number of caveats that sporadically come into play to obstruct your progress and make the life of anyone that tackles it a sweet, whimsically colorful slice of Hell. Stipulations like tiles freezing completely solid, requiring numerous taps to free them from their icy prison, or mud piles that’ll pollute the rest of the board with a dirty coat of mud if moved against any other tile that doesn’t correspond with its color - and that’s only a fraction of the obstacles that you can encounter.
As the level climbs, so do the odds against you. Peppered among the traps are additional power ups like a slow-motion activator against the clock or extra bonus time. Rainblocks will also occasionally throw you off with hidden de-buffs that operate to the opposite effect, like speeding up the clock or subtracting precious seconds right off of the timer.
As simple as the premise may seem, it’s the execution of its dynamics in motion that really makes Rainblocks a standout. Sliding tile after tile gradually becomes more and more intuitive, and experimenting with priorities of movement in order to yield the most out of the board’s power-ups and chaining potential creates a gratifying niche of gameplay that remains consistently rewarding.