Piyo Blocks 2 HD
- iPad / £1.79 (HD Lite version free. Also available on iPhone)
The puzzle classics are out in force this week. First Slitherlink, now Zoo Keeper, albeit peddled under the altogether less charming moniker of Piyo Blocks.
Fortunately for all those who lost most of 2005 to Success' DS classic, Big Pixel Studios appears to have created the best 'tribute' possible. Right down to the chunky art style and colour scheme, Piyo Blocks 2 HD tips its cap firmly in the Japanese studio's direction, swapping moody wild animals for odd 'Piyo' blocks, gems and fruit, but preserving everything that matters.
As usual, the simple aim is to continually slide tiles vertically or horizontally in order to match lines of three-or-more-of-a-kind. Absolutely tailor-made for touch-screen play, the extra real estate of the iPad not only makes it the ideal platform for quick, accurate block shifting, but allows for simultaneous head-to-head split-screen play. Yes!
To seal the deal beyond any doubt, there are a bunch of other modes, including the obligatory Time Attack, as well as Hyaku mode (capture 99 of each block type to level up), the fun-but-throwaway two-minute Disco mode (where blocks periodically change colour), or the frantic three-second mode, where you have three seconds to find a match before the game ends.
Throw in online leaderboards, iTunes library integration and a ludicrously cheap price, and it adds up to another fine reason to justify spending hundreds of pounds on Apple's slab.
- iPhone / £1.19
Look, everyone! A Chunsoft game in English! Chunwho? Well, quite. Having spent decades having its titles routinely ignored for Western release, the veteran Japanese developer can bypass this unjust treatment by releasing its games directly on the App Store.
Having made a name for itself with, er, me, for making interesting-looking (and usually SEGA-published) visual novel horror games, Chunsoft's intriguing concept of a 'sound horror' game had me giddily downloading the day it appeared. Who could resist a game that insists you wear headphones "for a surround effect to engulf players"? Engulf!
Sadly, the real horror emerges the moment you realise that you've purchased a shonky maze game, where you must escape the vengeful attentions of a cursed doll. Presumably the fear of being cackled to death drives you on, but apparently only one step at a time. Japan, may I introduce 3D Monster Maze.
What should have been the unearthing of a rare survival horror gem has turned into a bleak warning. Oh well, them's the breaks. An extra mark for particularly dry cackling.