App review: Skwer

Puzzle games are one of, if not the, most common type of game you will find on the app store. Perhaps this part of the market is over saturated; I don’t know. What I do know, however, is that Skwer is a fun little title, which has sprouted between the roots of the larger titles.

It’s a basic looking game which tries to represent an early handheld console, “chunky” graphics and a border round the screen containing several usable buttons really adds to the experience; almost taking you right back to the 80’s.

The game uses the graphics to its advantage; composed, as it is, of a 5 by 4 grid of squares, which starts out with multiple colours and forcing you to convert all squares to one base colour. Complicated maybe? Certainly not! The game tells you that it wants you to convert all the squares to one colour, for example, blue. The grid will comprise of Blue, Green and Pink – all you have to do is get rid of the Green and Pink squares to leave you with the base colour.

Skwer can ask you to reach any base colour: Pink Green or Blue. Whichever colour it picks, you will need to use the same methods to reach the end result. This method is tapping the coloured squares. Simple enough, but then changing each colour will change a different pattern of squares around it. For example; if you tap a pink square, the squares directly around it will change colour. Alternatively, if you tap a blue square, everything diagonally from it will change colour.

I can’t say that this all sounds appealing so far on description alone, it’s quite hard to describe yet mind bogglingly simple and fun.  For the first few minutes, as with any game, you will be wondering how you’re supposed to approach each level. After a little while, you will find yourself and the game have clicked; taking on harder puzzles in no time.

I particularly like the way it places a friendly hand on your shoulder and gently guides you through the game. At first it gives you sections to work through, all referring to what colour to get the base; a brilliant idea that stops the initial confusion you would come across when swapping from one base colour to another.

Once you have passed a set amount of levels and are judged to have an adequate understanding of the basic principle of the game, you are let loose on the random levels. The way the game doesn’t let you progress too far, giving you a tutorial that lasts far into the first few hours of the game without feeling like your being nannied, works well. In this respect, the games difficulty progresses perfectly.

With an almost limitless amount of levels that can be generated in the random mode and 180 separate levels in the other options within the game; it’s something that you will want to come back to in the future. Even if you did devote every waking minute of your day to getting through it all, you’d have most likely forgotten how to do previous puzzles – giving almost Endless replayability.

I do have to say that the menu can be a bit annoying – the retro style graphics make it hard to read what the options actually say. However this has no effect on the gameplay, it’s just a niggle that I have with the game and something that could easily be changed in a patch.

That really is the only way I can fault the game. The simplistic nature and the atmosphere really bring you back for more; especially when there is so much that you can get from it. Perfect for the commute and waking you up before work: who knows you may even get a promotion out of this.

 

Written by Chris Thompson for AppGamer.net

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