Trism was an exception when it debuted with the launch of the App Store in 2008. Not only was it original, but it made use of the accelerometer in a convincing way. It was a game that felt fresh because it was unique without sacrificing fun.

Trism 2 looks to be an exception, but in an entirely different way. Amid a sea of self-congratulating social games that leverage the same tired spreadsheet-style gameplay, developer Steve Demeter offers a new way of approaching social gaming that puts the focus where it belongs: gameplay.

An exciting example of how social elements can be used to enhance good gameplay, Trism 2 shows there's hope for social gaming beyond the FarmVille clones.

Features new and old

The core gameplay of Trism 2 remains rooted in the match-three mechanics that made the first game so approachable. Sliding a finger across a screen filled with triangular gems, your goal is to make combos that build your score and advance you to the next stage.

What distinguish this sequel, however, are new power-ups, an over-world stage select screen reminiscent of Super Mario Bros 3, and creative social elements that prevent it from being an milquetoast iteration on Trism.

In particular, the social features make Trism 2 distinct from other puzzle games, placing it somewhere between a multiplayer like Words with Friends and fast-moving puzzler like Bejeweled Blitz.

Socialite

Each stage sits on a world map, navigable using a personal avatar. Other players can spectate your games: they can watch you tackle stages, learning tricks as you play. Additionally, you can post scores online and engage in friendly high score competition.

Coins earned from good moves can be used to purchase trinkets for your avatar - capes, hats, sunglasses, etc. - as well as other items.

These can also be purchased, but you're also able to earn them solely through gameplay. Allowing you to earn coins infuses the game with an incentive to develop your skills, which in turn encourages socialising to share tips and tricks.

New look and sound

The introduction of new power-ups is sure to mix things up too. Not only does Trism 2 boast a slate of about a dozen new power-ups, but you're able to combine them in crazy ways. For example, the rainbow power-up can be melded with the new plant power-up for a special rainbow plant combo.

All of this goes hand-in-hand with the new visual style, which is more characterful than the original. Along with a new look, the sequel carries with it a musical soundtrack courtesy of UK electro group Cinnamon Chasers. Think trance, but with a streak of new age disco.

It all looks like it's coming together in a way that differentiates Trism 2 from the scores of match-three puzzlers on iPhone and iPod touch. It'll be available later this year.