| Flexis

Bouncy things are fun. Whether you're five or fifty, bouncing is one of the universal staples of joy. Super balls, trampolines, mattresses, that funny rubber concrete they put under swings in the playground, they are all a recipe for easygoing happiness.

So making the world's favourite puzzle game, Tetris, bouncy, sounds like a winning idea. What if, instead of slotting neatly into place, the blocks were rubberised and wiggled and jiggled like toddlers on a bouncy castle?

Indeed, right now we're betting you're thinking: "Yeah! That sounds awesome! Where can I get it?"

But we'd have to say: "Hey, calm down! And stop talking like an over-excited American!"

Because, despite the initial promise, Flexis is really disappointing. It is, in short, the very definition of a one-trick pony and, once you get past the bouncing, it's very limited as a game.

To begin with, it follows the usual routine: you've got a playing area into which combinations of connected, coloured blocks drop, and it's up to you to manipulate them to make blocks of the same colour touch. Match up three or more of the same colour and they disappear, the aim being to keep the playing area clear and to rack up points by making the blocks vanish.

A preview window below the playing area shows you what's coming next, enabling you to plan your block placement. At this point in Tetris you'd be able to rotate the blocks to better match them up with the collection sat at the bottom of the playing area, and this is where Flexis makes its turn into left field.

You can't rotate the blocks, but when they hit the bottom of the playing area or, better still, waiting blocks, they'll bounce around. You can control this rebound by pressing on your phone's thumbpad, ricocheting off left, right or back up into the air.

As you play more, you'll learn that by moving the blocks in a certain way you can cause them to spin, enabling you to open up new colour-matching opportunities.

Thanks to the fact that you only have to momentarily create a chain of three coloured blocks, you can spin and buck a block around so that you clear two or sometimes three differently coloured chains of blocks in one go.

This is all good and well for the first three levels. And then, out of nowhere, Flexis suddenly decides that it doesn't want to be fun any more.

Firstly, the difficulty curve takes a sharp turn upwards with the fourth level. As you're still learning the mechanics of how the game works (it takes a little while to get your head around it), it's utterly demoralising to lose the level within a minute as you're presented with a screen that's already half-full of blocks.

Secondly, other than a new colour being introduced every couple of levels, there's no progression, nothing to keep you playing. Whereas PileUp would introduce a new spin to each level and the original Tetris upped the stakes in a gradual but encouraging manner, Flexis has no such redeeming features.

If you're a block-dropping addict, this may be easy enough to overlook. Likewise, if you're curious about the mechanics of the game – the physics of the bouncing blocks is certainly wonderful – then Flexis offers an intriguing new concept.

But for anyone who's after an enjoyable slice of puzzle entertainment, it's the Madeira cake on a dessert cart full of Black Forest gateux, banoffie pie and fruit sorbet: pleasant enough but not what you really, truly want.


A nice idea but that's about it