Mooniz for iPhone a frantic matching game with a few wrinkles

May 23, 2011
Games

Mooniz, yet another match-three puzzle game, would seem to have the deck stacked against it. It doesn’t contain a ton of crazy game modes that create an artificial sense of variety, so it has to rely on a gameplay format found in dozens of other games. Although it does not succeed completely, in the sense […]

Mooniz, yet another match-three puzzle game, would seem to have the deck stacked against it. It doesn’t contain a ton of crazy game modes that create an artificial sense of variety, so it has to rely on a gameplay format found in dozens of other games.

Although it does not succeed completely, in the sense that it won’t make you forget you ever played Bejeweled or something, it has some quirks that at least allow you to tell it apart from other clones in the genre.

For starters, match-three games rarely penalize you for attempting to make a move you can’t make. If you try to group two similar colors together in most of these games, nothing happens. In Mooniz, if you try to collect, you effectively kill those pieces, reducing them to a empty shells that can’t be matched with anything. You can tap another piece that revises these dead pieces, but it’s a cool wrinkle that makes clearing levels a little more difficult. And clearing levels is already pretty difficult, which is another plus. Each level is timed, so even within the first few levels getting the necessary pieces to clear a stage can be a speed run. It’s refreshing to see in a genre that usually takes too long to get compelling.

But the reliance on a tough time limit creates a bit of a gameplay problem. When time is of the essence, strategy becomes secondary to mindlessly tapping everything on the screen. That doesn’t make for a compelling app. If there were a greater penalty besides the “dead” pieces that can be quickly eradicated, this wouldn’t be much of a problem, but that isn’t the case.

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Mooniz is still a fun match-three game, and it does enough things differently from the competition to stand on its own, but until there’s a better risk-reward system in place for players who want to “cheat” their way through a level, the long-term playability of this game is fairly low.

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Dan Kricke

Dan Kricke has been playing with electronics and writing about them for years. He loved his Sega Dreamcast and now the PlayStation 3. On the iPhone, he's a fan of sports apps and anything that offers new music.

 

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