One of our favourite stock market terms – alright, the only stock market term we actually know – is the phenomenon of the 'dead cat bounce.' Tasteless it may be in describing a rapidly-falling stock's price followed by a slight, momentary recovery, it's also morbidly accurate – the cat/share price is still dead, despite the short-term rise.
It's also a term that could, quite legitimately, have been applied to the first Flexis game. While the initial premise was good – a kind of rubberised Tetris with bouncy blocks – it soon collapsed with only the innovative physics providing a momentary reprise.
But Flexis has been resurrected in this, Flexis Extreme, and it's arguably the game that the original should have been: an entertaining puzzler whose unique style is matched only by its compulsiveness.
So, to the basics. Flexis Extreme is, at its heart, another of the colour-matching puzzle games. Blocks fall from the top of the screen in a variety of colours and formations, and it's up to you to guide and rotate them, dropping them into contact with those already gathered at the bottom. Make three or more blocks of the same colour touch and they'll disappear.
When you've made all the blocks on screen disappear or reached the target points limit, you complete the level. It's all pretty standard stuff and won't be a surprise to anyone who's played a mobile puzzle game at all in the last few years.
Where Flexis Extreme sets itself apart is in the fact that the blocks that descend from the ceiling are rather rubbery, the result being that they bounce around like a two-year old with a sugar buzz. It's in the bouncing that the magic happens, as it enables you to create lines of three or more matching colours and then bounce the last contributing block away to make another two or three similarly-hued blocks vanish.
This boingy action wasn't really made the most of in the first game but here it comes into its own, having been refined and given a much bigger part.
Some levels you work through in the game's main Mission mode feature obstacles positioned part the way down the screen that deflect your attempts to drop blocks where you want. Some of these slide from side to side, others rotate and more still act like a crusher, trapping and squeezing individual blocks until they pop.
It's great fun and really shows off what the Flexis concept is all about: when you've got blocks bounding around left, right and centre, you can't help but smile at the nuttiness of it all. It's a smile that won't disappear, either, because the uneven difficulty level that marred the first game has been smoothed over for Flexis Extreme, enabling you to get to grips with the unusual mechanic while gradually upping the challenge.
It's the Mission mode that provides the most fun, while Survival and Classic modes add a pinch of longevity by essentially offering up an unlimited, play-til-you-drop marathon. Bombs, colour-changing blocks and dynamite that makes an entire row of blocks disappear introduce their own unpredictable effects.
The glossy visuals add polish and, for a mobile phone game, even the soundtrack manages to make its own contribution to the overall quality feel, though we still muted it after a few minutes.
Music aside, it's the total package. It won't replace Chuzzle at the top of our current puzzle list – there's something about those furry blighters – but it's a great game with a novel concept that'll keep you coming back for more.