Monday, October 14, 2013

Review: Shapes: A Colorful Challenge for iPhone and iPad

Shapes: A Colorful Challenge is not based on an original idea, but I like its simple mechanics. It would greatly benefit from better graphics, however.
You start with an image composed of colored areas, some of which contain one or more balloons. When you tap a balloon, it disappears and transfers its color to the area it sits on. If adjacent areas have the same color, they merge. The goal is to end with the whole shape of a single color.

To solve the puzzles, you need to find the right order to pop the balloons. In the example above, that would be brown, yellow, and green.

You surely can use some logic to find the solution, but I found that instead of thinking too much I just started tapping right away in what I felt was a good order; often I would not solve the puzzle on the first attempt, but could try again in a slightly different order to fix my mistakes.

There's a great variety of shapes and difficulties. Unfortunately the solutions to many puzzles are not unique, and in some cases I was even able to solve a puzzle without using all the balloons. So I don't think the puzzle design has been done with all the care it should have taken.

In terms of mechanics, the only additional element I found is a "swapping" balloon, which is used sporadically.
Here one of the yellow balloons has double arrows around it. When you tap it, instead of disappearing it swaps color with the area it's in. After the first tap, it becomes a normal balloon.

The most annoying thing in this game is that the graphics are very low resolution, as can be seen clearly here:
Since the game obviously has an artsy feeling, I would have liked the images to be high resolution. As they are, they feel like a poke in the eye sometimes.

I also think that the animations during the screen transitions have an excessive amount of bouncing, which makes them feel cheesy.

There's a total of 180 puzzles playable for free; that should be more than enough for most people. There's also two additional packs of 60 puzzles each, purchasable separately. Surely worth a try.


Summary

Nontrivialness★★★☆☆
Logical Reasoning★★★☆☆
User Interface★★☆☆☆
Presentation★★☆☆☆
Loading Time★★★★☆
Saves Partial Progress
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