Move the Box, a game which I've seen copied so many times that I'm not even sure if it's an original idea itself. On closer inspection, however, Membrane has interestingly different mechanics that add a lot of depth.
The basic idea is that you control some blocks. You can move the blocks only horizontally, by one step at a time. The blocks are also affected by gravity, so they will fall vertically when there is nothing under them. When three or more blocks are on the same line, horizontally or vertically, they disappear. Your goal is to remove all the blocks.
To solve this puzzle, you could move the brown block right, making it fall down above another brown block, then left to make a match; and then move the isolated green block to the left to make the second match. But that's three moves; as you can see on the top left corner, the "par" for this puzzle is just one move. How can we do that? The movement rules come to our assistance.
To move a block, the space next to it doesn't have to be empty: there can be another block there, which will be pushed. So in this case, you can move right the leftmost green block, which will push the block next to it, forming a match that will disappear. The brown block, no longer supported by the green blocks, will fall down, pass through the membrane, and land between the other two brown blocks, completing the puzzle.
But thats not all! There's a second way to solve this puzzle. Blocks can be moved even if there are other blocks on top of them. They will just slide away, while the block above them will remain where it is. So you can move the rightmost green block to the left: it will slide away from below the brown block, and go to form a match. In the meantime, the brown block, no longer supported by the block you moved, will fall down and form the second match.
Note that in the latter case the green blocks will not be removed until the brown block has finished to fall. That is, the rule is: first all blocks move as far as they can, then all the matches are removed. If the removals cause some blocks to become free, then they all move as far as they can, then all the new matches are removed, and so on until there is no more movement to be done. The order of things might seem a minor details, but in some of the puzzles you have to take full advantage of it.
There can be more than three blocks of one color on the board, and in that case you have to be careful to destroy them all at once. For example in this puzzle there are four green blocks.
The mechanics I just described are already pretty interesting, but the game also adds many variations. First of all, some blocks will float instead of falling.
Match-3 games often have explosives as power ups; in the case of Membrane, they are just part of the mechanics.
Other special blocks destroy all blocks in the same row or column after they are matched.
Finally, we couldn't do without rainbow blocks.
The game contains 126 puzzles, divided in three packs. You can play the puzzles in a pack in any order, but to unlock the packs after the first you need to collect a certain number of gold circles, which you earn by solving puzzles in the optimal number of moves. This will require some effort because for many of the puzzles it's easy to come up with an inefficient solution, but finding the optimal solution is a lot harder.
The quality of the puzzles is somewhat uneven. In some cases, the solution is elusive and you really need to think hard about the available options, until you get a nice a-ha! moment when you finally figure it out; other times the puzzle layout feels more like a random collection of blocks without a clear plan behind.
The puzzles that work best are the ones where all the blocks are part of the solution. Take this puzzle for example:
The green blocks, on the other hand, don't take any significant part in the solution. They are easily matched, and are not needed for anything else.
By the way, the par in the above puzzle is wrong: it can be solved in just 6 moves.
The user interface is OK, but I strongly dislike that the block colors are randomly changed every time you restart a puzzle. This is jarring and can easily make you lose track of the solution you were building in your head.
I like the premises of the visual style, but it's not polished enough. The graphics are not just lackluster, they are also confusing, for example the blast radius of the bombs is just a plain white line, which cannot be seen when the bomb is on a white background. I also don't like the asymmetry between the "normal" blocks, which fall down and have no visual markings, and the floating ones which have an up arrow on top. An idea I just had is that it might have been nice to explain the fall down/float behaviour with an underwater setting.
Anyway, the game is totally free and doesn't contain ads, so not much reason to complain. You might have to weed through some filler, but there surely are some worthy puzzles in here.
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