Game Reviews

Colorix

Star onStar onStar onStar halfStar off
|
| Colorix
Get
Colorix
|
| Colorix

Over the past 50 years, many people have ripped off the influential rock 'n' roll bands of the 1960s.

But while there's nothing wrong with lifting a Beatles hook here and a Beach Boys harmony there, most bands seem to forget that these greats were brilliant song writers first and foremost.

Put simply, if you’re going to copy a musical formula, you have to get the basics right first.

Stacking on the shoulders of giants

The action puzzler genre has experienced something similar in recent years. Everyone is eager to clamber on the bandwagon set rolling by such greats as Tetris and Columns, and enhanced more recent casual gems like Bejeweled.

Yet most of these copycats forget that what made these games great was remarkably tight gameplay. So even if Colorix can be rightfully criticised for lacking many original ideas, at least Mobo Studio seems to understand how to copy well.

More strangely, while the game can also be knocked for only having a single mode of play and no multiplayer options, yet, I’ve enjoyed it more than many other iPhone puzzlers with three times the amount of content.

Pop(a)Cap in yo' game

Colorix plays rather like the Sega classic Columns, in that you guide a constant flow of vertically stacked 3 x 1 block clusters (more like marbles really) into place as they drop from the top of the screen. Like Columns, you don’t rotate these pieces at all. You simply alter the order in which the individually coloured blocks are stacked.

When three or more blocks of any single colour are stacked in a straight line (including diagonally) they disappear and any blocks above drop down to fill the gaps. The mega points come when you initiate elaborate (or lucky) chain reactions or specific shapes.

At the heart of the game's success is that these basics, though familiar, are uncommonly tight and polished. There's a faintly PopCap-ish feel to it, in the way the blocks slide around the screen so responsively at the tip of your finger, and the way they clunk into place with a satisfying twang.

It's also the way there's a constant stream of rewards for just playing the game. Not via some arbitrary achievement system, but from the tiny audio-visual prompts that accompany each combo, or the satisfying stream of numbers that pop up when you form a zebra.

Throwing shapes

Ah yes, and there's the shapes. The game's one faintly original touch is in the extensive shape system that awards you bonus points for getting rid of blocks in style. Get rid of a bunch of blocks in an 'X' shape, a stairs formation, or the aforementioned zebra (a loose 'Z' shape) to name but a few and your score will skyrocket.

Numbers appear. Whooshy sounds play. Endorphins release.

It's all explained in the very simple, very handy Tips & Tricks section, which should be viewed as compulsory reading before you start.

In fact, this hints at another potential gripe. There are almost too many bells and whistles, too many factors to consider in any one game to allow you to zone out with ease, as the best games of the genre manage to achieve.

Ultimately then, Colorix adds almost nothing new to the overcrowded iPhone match-three genre, and it suffers from a lack of modes.

Where it succeeds is in getting the basics of tight controls and solid, rewarding gameplay just right. And quite honestly, we'll take that over another hastily conceived cover version any day.

Colorix

Though it offers little in the way of either innovation or variation, Colorix succeeds through expertly crafted, subtly rewarding match-three gameplay
Score