Review by Meg
Game by 2Dengine
The goal of Chains is to connect 3 or more bubbles of a matching color, a pretty typical puzzle game goal. Matching colors to pop bubbles is hardly new, but what separates Chains from Puzzle Bobble, Snood, Bejeweled or even bilging on Puzzle Pirates, is the special bubble physics of Chains. Falling bubbles interact with each other, bouncing or pushing each other into different places, so they’re not just falling into obvious spots. It’s simoultaneously relaxing to watch and more challenging to play.
Gameplay: The best games have simple rules and complex challenges. Chains has some of the simplest rules in puzzle games, just match three or more balls. You could explain the rules to a new player in a minute, but that doesn’t mean the game is easy or childish. There are endless ways to change and refine your strategy.
Each level of Chains presents a different challenge, like making the longest chain possible, racing the clock to get a certain number of bubbles cleared, and so forth. In Exact Change, bubbles of different sizes have weighted values, and players need to create a chain worth exactly the specified amount. In The Stream, bubbles are falling down a river and must be cleared quickly enough to keep the river from backing up. In Coathanger, bubbles fall onto a precariously balanced coathanger, spilling off the heavier side. Using that simple mechanic of clicking three or more bubbles to clear them, players have to adapt their strategy to each new challenge.
Graphics: On Gravity, bubbles are attracted to a midscreen center of gravity, unless they collide with another bubble. This level is almost hypnotic. Overall, the bubble physics were amazing.
Each level consists of a dynamic pattern of bubbles in front of a static background graphic. I don’t know what is going on with the vaguely floral designs in the background, though. They do add psychadelic decor to the magenta, yellow and lime bubbles, but the game doesn’t really have a cohesive look or feel.
Sound/Music: Um… no. I shut the sound off pretty early on becausethe theme music was annoying and repetitive. Or was that because I played the game too long? Some puzzles were perfect for playing on the phone, so you’ll probably want the music off anyway so your clients think they’ve got your undivided attention.
Lasting Appeal: With so many puzzle games, it’s hard for one to stand out. I think the variety of difficulty levels and different challenges makes it easy to find either a relaxing game for a quick break or a frustratingly difficult puzzle. You’ll be playing this at least until the next puzzle game comes along.
Check it out for a fun puzzle game… but don’t bother with the sound.