Reviews

Spin review (pre-release)

Review by Nigel Wood

With all the colour matching puzzles out there, it’s nice to see an original puzzler hit the App store. Spin, by Secret Exit is one such game.

Spin has a simple premise, similar to those kindergarten toys where you had to push different shape blocks through the correctly shaped holes, you must rotate a 3D object to fit in a randomly angled silhouette of the same object. These objects range from kitchen ware to animals, and clothing to transport. They can be rotated using two fingers, and flipped with a flick of the finger in any direction in 3D space.

Mr Panda regretted eating those strange mushrooms he bought off Rave Rabbit!

The challenge comes into play when you have to do this under the pressure of time. The main mode of play is ‘Arcade’, in this mode the aim is to survive 100 stages across 10 difficulty levels. At the bottom of the screen is a time bar, in this mode you are given half a bar of time. With each successful match, your time increases and the bar grows, if the bar fills fully you move on to the next level. However, spend too long on the puzzle and your time bar depletes, if the bar reaches the skull icon in the left corner… it’s game over! As you progress further the objects get more complex and the time moves quicker, resulting in some seriously franatic, twitch gameplay.

If you want to head straight into the crazier side of the game, or need a quick gaming fix while waiting for a bus, then the other two modes ‘Frantic mode’ and ‘Minute rush’ offer just that. Frantic mode is just one level, and sees the time deplete at a fast rate… this is a survival mode so the only way to stop the time is to successfully match the silhouette. Minute mode does exactly what it says on the tin, and gives you one minute to match as many silhouettes as possible, there is no way to extend the time time bar… one minute… that’s it.

So how does it all look. Well the best way to describe it is if you were to somehow mate a Barbie doll with a Care Bear, the love child would bear a similar resemblance to this games’ art style. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it all comes down to taste. I actually enjoyed the crazy visuals with their candy sheen backgrounds featuring giant animated cartoon gorillaz, crazy eyed panda’s and mad frogs. It all gels well with the smooth 3D objects and the frantic gameplay. Having said that, I think the game would benefit from a custom skinning option, allowing you to change the backgrounds and colour scheme of the 3D models to something more reserved. For example, you could have all the 3D objects appear in woodblock texture with a simple wooden background. This would help push the game into the hands of people who might shrug off the game as childish, just from their first impressions of the visuals. This would be a shame and a missed opportunity for some fun casual gameplay.

The sound fits well, with the music following a fast techno/bubble gum pop fusion style. As well as some cute sound effects of children oohing and aarrghing as you miss or correctly match a puzzle. Again the option to change this for some more chill-out style music might attract a more diverse audience, but one could argue that this would go against the frantic gameplay.

 

Presentation & Graphics:
 
Bright candy coated visuals that look good on the iPhone screen are not to everyone’s tastes, but try not to let them put you off a strong puzzle experience. Some customisation would be nice though.

Sound:

Techno beats and 8-bit-esque tunes, with a tempo to match the gameplay. Cutesy kid samples match the visuals.

Gameplay:
 
A simple game under all that loud colour and sound, but it’s great fun and a welcome change from all the samey puzzles out there right now.

Game life: 

100 stages and 10 difficulty settings should keep you entertained long enough. There are also trophies to collect in an xbox live style, so that should give you an incentive to carry on playing. Frantic and Minute modes are good for short bursts, and should see the game living on your homescreen long after you have completed the game. 

Game rating:
 

Final word:

Overall this is a fun puzzle game that, if you can get past the kiddie looks, will in later stages offer a fast and frantic twitch experience even for the most hardcore gamer out there. Spin should be available on the app store anytime soon. (UPDATE: SPIN is available now for $4.99 here)

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  • http://www.tedmartens.com Ted

    This game is so much fun. The simplest concepts are often the best ones.

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