Tetris has a lot to answer for. If I had to lay a bet on which videogame has produced the most knock-offs..sorry, let me rephrase that – inspired the most spin-offs – Tetris would be right up there with…well, all the other videogames that have produced spin-offs, because pretty much every popular videogame has.
For the purposes of this review however, let’s just pretend that Tetris is the number one spin-off producer, or I’ll have to write a new intro. I don’t really feel like doing that.
i3 is a Tetris-a-like puzzle game from developer Found In The Future, which is an entirely appropriate moniker as the visual style is a cool-looking neonscape with softly glowing lines of text and slick transitions which brings to mind Tron, Minority Report or Windows Mobile 8. Am I allowed to say that on here?
Illuminated coloured cubes roll onto an 8×8 board and your job is to line them up in groups of three or more matching colours which releases them, clearing space for more blocks to arrive. Points are scored for creating longer lines and releasing them quickly. Do you release a line of three reds? Or gamble on two more rolling up to increase your score even though it’ll limit the space on the board? Who says playing videogames is a throwaway pastime. These are weighty moral choices.
Complicating matters is the increasing frequency of cubes dropping onto the board, and cubes which change colour as you roll them into position depending on which side they land on. Tap each block when you’ve decided you want to keep it that colour. Extra strategy+continually shortening time limit = frantic gameplay.
You manoeuvre each block into place simply by tapping and holding the grid square you want it to land on, it then ambles across the board until it rests in peace (he was a good cube). Complete this three or more times with the same colour, then either pinch both ends or double tap to release the blocks. Of the two methods, don’t bother attempting to pinch, it’s more trouble than it’s worth due to screen real estate. You’ll have difficulty grabbing hold of both ends with your fat thumbs. Or maybe that’s just me. In any case, double tapping is a lot more intuitive.
The controls are mostly easy to get along with, but present one particular problem in the form of taps to confirm colours not registering on the multi-coloured cubes. This leads to frustrating moments when the blocks are flying in from all angles rapidly filling up the board, while you unsuccessfully try to confirm a block’s shade.
But it’s a still an enjoyable game with smart visual presentation and an airy synth soundtrack that makes you feel as though you’re racing against time to figure out an important puzzle. Which is of course, exactly what you’re doing. They got that spot on then. You’ll feel compelled to master in the same way as it’s older cousin, surely a major endorsement.
As a concluding note, you wouldn’t believe how much trouble I’ve having writing i3 in this review as my auto correct keeps changing the ‘i’ to an ‘I’. The horrors I go through for TouchGen readers. I’m sure you appreciate.
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i3 is available now for £1.49 on iPhone and iPod Touch. Get it now in the