App Reviewed on: iPhone XR
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There is always a place on mobile for a sleek and stylish puzzler. Something simple that isn’t too involved, but looks great is an ideal fit on a device that can travel with you everywhere. In this sense, Tile Snap is a great game. It’s not a terribly deep game, but it’s pretty, feels nice, and is free (without being horribly monetized).
Swap and pop
In Tile Snap, you have to match tiles by sliding to have them swap places with each other. If you don’t match any tiles on a move, it undoes itself. The goal of every level is to make the right moves so that you match and clear all the tiles off the board.
If you ever make a misstep in a level, you can always undo as many times as you’d like. To keep you from getting stumped on puzzles, Tile Snap also has a hint system that can guide you through levels. The game also unlocks new sets of puzzles in groups of six, which you can take on in any order you like.
Sliding to match tiles isn’t exactly a new idea, but Tile Snap succeeds because it presents this very familiar and accessible mechanic into a game that’s extremely colorful and attractive. Each set of stages has a pretty patterned background, and the tiles themselves have intricate symbols on them using color palettes that all compliment each other well.
The small scope of Tile Snap is also probably what allows it to have such incredible attention-to-detail. Things like the way tiles rotate around each other as you swap them and how the undo button subtly appears after you make a move make this simple game a cut above titles that have used the same mechanics.
Hints for headscratchers
Tile Snap’s simplicity might make it seem a little underwhelming, but not for the asking price. This is a free-to-play game, but not one that’s constantly hitting you up for money, bandying about multiple currencies, or popping up ads in your face. Instead, Tile Snap only asks for money if you want to continuously use its hint system.
When you first download the game, Tile Snap offers players three hints. These hints can lead you step by step through the entirety of a level (with the option to turn it off whenever you want). Once you’ve used the three free ones that come with the game, you can get five more for $1, or pay $3 to get one hint a day forever. This seems completely reasonable, as players that opt not to pay aren't hamstrung or punished by anything except the challenge of the game itself. It would be nice if more free-to-play games stuck to pay models like Tile Snap’s.
The bottom line
Tile Snap is a wonderful free puzzler that will entertain you for as long as you enjoy looking at it. Mechanically, it may be a little lacking, but for the price tag that seems like a hard thing to complain too much about.