Review by Matt Dunn
I am always amazed at how many different puzzle games there are in the world. Is there one guy in a room somewhere dreaming these up? Images of bricks, jewels, bubbles, and shapes floating around in his head? That said, Geomex certainly brings a unique puzzle experience to the iPhone.
Geomex is a far cry from Caffien Monster’s original “shoot ‘em up” game. (Not for the iPhone… yet?) While that game seems quite busy and crazy, Geomex is the kind of game you curl up to with some tea on a Sunday afternoon.
Do you know what any good puzzle game needs? Multiple games modes. Geomex delivers handily, with 5 different modes to choose from: Arcade, Chain, Mono, Puzzle, and “Clear!” modes. All of these offer a different twist on gameplay, and definitely boost the value of this game.
The basic object of Geomex is simple: swipe between two of the same shapes with different colors to make them dissappear from the playing field. Whichever color was the last one your finger touched in the process is the “last color.” In Arcade Mode, if you select a shape with the last color on your next swipe, you get bonus multipliers. This is considered a “chain.” So if you swipe from a small red square to a small blue square, then swipe from a blue rectangle to a green rectangle, then from a green rectangle to a blue rectangle, you will have a 2x multiplier. As you progress, more shapes, and more colors get added to the mix. It gets tough. Trust me.
Luckily, the learning curve is about 10 seconds due to the handy instructions pages. I would like to applaude the developer for actually including very simple, one-page, in-game instructions for each mode. There’s nothing more annoying than clicking the help button and being redirected to some website in Safari for instructions. Thiss page comes up the first time you try a different game mode, and is easily accessable from both the main and in-game menus. Thank you.
Chain mode requires you to keep the color chain going in order to remove pieces. I found myself muttering “blue… red… green…” so I could remember what color I last used. Then I noticed that the pieces with your last color are automatically highlighted with a yellow outline for you. Nice. I can relax and stop stressing when 6+ colors start appearing on the screen!
Mono mode takes care of that pesky color-matching mania, by only putting one color of shape on the playing field. As a twist, gray shapes are added that cannot be matched, and do not dissappear. Combos are gained by matching adjacent shapes.
Clear! requires you to continue clearing shapes until there are no more matches left. I didn’t mention it yet, but if you happen to run out of matches in the previous modes, the playing field politely resets it for you, and you can have at it again. Usually shapes fall from the top of the screen as you open a path. In Clear!, the shapes do not replenish. You score bonus points for the percentage of shapes you clear before running out of matches. This would be easy, but as with all the above modes you have a timer bar that is running down. It is replenished by making shape matches.
Puzzle mode is by far my favorite, although it’s a bit short. This consists of 24 levels where the goal is to clear all the colored shapes from the playing field. Not to be confused with Clear!, Puzzle mode involves a small amount of shapes arranged in a particular way on the field. Using strategy, you have to plan your moves so that no shapes remain. As a courtesy in case you get fed up with a level, the next level is also unlocked. You can skip to the next one, continue the game, and come back to the tough one later.
I really would have liked to see more Puzzles in Geomex. I’m hoping more will come in future updates. I feel that the current patch was a bit too easy, although there are definitely a few that require you to stop and plan things out. Honestly though, with 5 game modes, you won’t complain that there isn’t enough to do!
The graphics in in Geomex are simple and attractive. The presentation is very clean. Menus are slick and simple. Animation is smooth. Overall presentation feels very solid. The sound is also extremely simple. There’s a small sound for making a match, and sound for beating a level. The game curiously has built-in volume control, but it works well enough.
Geomex also has a separate score list for each game mode (except Puzzle). Nice touch (pun intended?).
Presentation & Graphics: 8
Simple shapes. Clean animation. Soothing colors. A very relaxed game.
Almost none. But then again, for the first 20 minutes of playing this without sound, I didn’t even think about it. Not really a big deal. Could have used a few more though.
Absolutely excellent and original puzzle game. I never once got frustrated to the point of putting the game down. It’s all just soo… relaxed! Casual gaming FTW.
Game life: 8
Five games modes. High score lists for each. Would have been nice to have more Puzzle levels, but this one you’ll revisit from time to time.
Game rating: 8
Geomex is a fantastic new puzzler from CaffeineMonster that will keep you coming back from time to time. This is a must-have for casual puzzle game fans. Even those who aren’t a fan of the genre will most likely have fun with this one. The $6.99 price tag seems a bit steep for a simple game like this, but considering how polished this game is, and the obvious amount of work involved from one guy, I can see where he’s coming from. If you want an original, simple, easy-to-pickup puzzle game with many modes of play, give Geomex a look.