Connect-the-color games aren’t frontpage news for the App Store. In fact, they’re probably not even last page news at this point. However, when a game comes along that takes a simple genre and raises the bar, it should be noted.
This review could have been quite brief. Why? Because Tatomic is a lot like every other connect-the-color puzzle game out there. You know the drill: connect X amount of objects of the same color to make them dissappear. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. Luckily, Tatomic has enough that’s different, and a high enough production value to set it firmly in place as one of best color-puzzle games for the iPhone.
Tatomic has what all good puzzle games should: multiple modes of gameplay. Three to be exact. This basically triples life of this game, which really helps out in creating a nice little package. But I’m getting ahead of myself! Critical Mass is the first game mode, which has you *gasp* connecting up atoms of the same color to make them explode and dissappear. The catch comes where you have to connect a certain number of atoms for each color - a number that changes with each new level you get to! As you connect atoms, the number of total connected shows when you drop. It can be an extreme challenge to match up 12 reds, while you’re easily matching up 6 greens and 4 blue atoms. This is a nice twist, and keeps you on your toes.
Radioactive Survival, which is my favorite mode, has the same basic concept, but without needing to match a certain number of each color. Instead, a radioactive atom, when attached to a chain of it’s color, will set the whole thing off. These appear randomly, so sometimes it gets pretty tense as you try to build up huge chains while waiting for radioactive atoms. Highest chain I got was 30. How about you?
Finally, there is a nice little Puzzle mode, that closely resembles that of Luminous. You have to drop the atoms so that a certain shape is formed from one color. I found this to actually be the most difficult mode of the game due to the fact that radioactive atoms are constantly spawning, causing some accidental eplosions. There are only 20 levels, but I guarantee they will take quite some time to conquer, even for experienced players.
The visuals and music in Tatomic are completely top notch. Rotating atoms look awesome, and move faster and faster as more are connected. Explostions look great, the blur effects is well-used when rotating atoms, and the backgrounds go well with the game’s overall feel. The music is EXCELLENT, and either there is quite a large variety, or it is ambient and pleasant enough for me not to notice it being just a couple songs. Their probably could have been a few more pronounced sound effects, but what’s there works fine.
There is really only one thing that needs work with this game, and that is the controls. As you can see by the screens, you control by tapping the arrows on the screen. As with most games that require this, it’s very easily to accidently cover parts of the playing field, which can prove disastrous, especially at later levels. The left and right arrows should at least be moved to the bottom rather than the top, as these are used the most. The rotate and down button probably could have been placed between these, putting the controls completely at the bottom, and out of your way. Still, despite this, the game plays fairly well once you get used to the controls.
The controls can be frustrating, especially at later levels when things are moving quite fast. These need to be tweaked, or at least, an alternative provided. Covering the screen to press a button is no good. Still, it works descently when you get used to it. Also, when receiving text messages during gameplay, the game doesn’t pause. (It saves when you exit or receive a call though.)
You really can’t ask for much more in puzzle game. Three different modes of play – and all of them are fun! Puzzle games don’t really need multiplayer, and this one certainly will hold your attention on your own! High score list for the first 2 play modes, with name entry.
Tatomic brings life to the tired color-puzzle genre on the iPhone. With multiple game modes and unique twists on gameplay, it offers a puzzle experience that will be fun for new and older puzzle fans alike. There are very few puzzle games that look and sound this good on the iPhone!