There are so many different takes on the block matching, block dropping, block placing games on the App Store that it is hard to make a new one stick out. Puzzle Cosmos actually manages to stick out by being so darn polished it is uncanny. If you get tired as soon as you hear Tetris or match 4 you can stop reading now.
In Puzzle Cosmos you have to make coloured matches of 4 blocks or more. Once a match has started you have a limited time to chain more blocks of the same colour to the match. The game is played in portrait mode. The playing area is a cylinder viewed from the side, and you move the entire cylinder as you move the blocks sideways. This gives you a rather large playing field. Depending on the game mode you get different challenges. The basic challenge is that the cylinder moves slowly upwards, and once it fills to the top the game is over.
There are two different control methods that both work well. Either on screen touch buttons or flick controls. The flick controls are most intuitive, and I found myself much quicker using them. Once a block reaches a higher stack it starts rotating making it easier to get the block you want in the right place. Most of the time the speed lies just above being able to strategize for.
Unlocking the three game modes unavailable from the start is the main goal for me. There are online leaderboards as well, but there seems to be a limited number of players at the moment. The standard mode is good for practise, but once the time attack mode was unlocked it became the main mode for me. Making the most of two minutes can be really intense. The next mode, Deadline, is hard beyond my skill level. The final mode, Flash Rain, will probably never be unlocked on my iPhone as it demands 50 combos on Deadline.
The presentation is excellent with a nice futuristic theme echoing through from title screen to all the menus. The blocks are easy to distinguish, and the game comes with two different skins. The less flashy skin might be easier to use to reach the higher scores, as you aren’t distracted. The music is a nice mix of techno found in other games from Ponos. You can also play your own music alongside the sound effects. Overall the level of user customization is great in Puzzle Cosmos.
Although Puzzle Cosmos might seem like a really cool game it suffers somewhat from being forgettable. The fun aspect is trying to unlock the other game modes, and I would have liked more of these. It made it all feel like a mission based game instead of a high score chaser. It feels a bit middle of the road now. On the other hand it is a solid fast paced match 4 game with a high level of polish.
Puzzle Cosmos $2.99
Seller: ponos corporation
Tested on an iPhone 4.