Ponk iPhone app is the latest in match-three gaming

Nov 10, 2010
Games

Releasing a new match-three iOS game is sort of a double-edged sword for developers. Sure, it’s been proven there’s a market for the genre on iOS devices, but at the same time there’s also plenty of competition. Though Ponk (on sale for 99 cents, regularly $1.99) is only the second release from Fiveamstudios, it is […]

Releasing a new match-three iOS game is sort of a double-edged sword for developers. Sure, it’s been proven there’s a market for the genre on iOS devices, but at the same time there’s also plenty of competition.

Though Ponk (on sale for 99 cents, regularly $1.99) is only the second release from Fiveamstudios, it is a polished product that shows the company knows how to make a game. But is it good enough to stand out in a crowded genre?

The game has three modes, all offering a slight twist on the standard gameplay. Klassik mode is all about scoring as many points and staying alive for as long as possible. As the blobs fall from the top of the screen, you drag them to the desired spot, with your goal being to match at least like-colored blobs.

Of course, there are plenty of specials, such as bombs that blow up blobs in the vicinity and “locked” blobs that you’re unable to move. The big gameplay twist here, though, is the time-freeze special, which – as you might guess – stops blobs from falling, and allows you to arrange them as you desire.

Not only is this part of Ponk an attempt to set it apart from the competition, but it’s necessary. When you are about to level up, a flurry of blobs are dropped on you, with the time-freeze special being the only way to handle them all.

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The two additional modes are Time Attack, in which time slowly ticks down, with matches increasing in time, and Kaboum, where you have to strategically blow up specific blobs to advance. Also, there are three difficultly levels for each mode.

It’s nice that there are multiple modes, but what really adds to the replay value are the inclusion of achievements (more than 40), Game Center integration and a local leaderboard.

The visuals are nice, though gameplay was a little choppy on my iPhone Touch 3G. The presentation still earns positive marks from this reviewer, though.

If it sounds like Fiveamstudios covered all the bases with Ponk, it’s because they did. Unfortunately, while this is absolutely a good game, it fails to stand out from the many similar match-three games in the App store.

That’s not to say there’s not a market for Ponk. It will appeal to those who often find themselves addicted to match-three games, and are looking for a new one. But there are a number of similar games, and it’s not clear this one is much better or much different.

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David Lister

David Lister is a freelance writer in Chicago. He is a former editor and writer at the NationalSportsReview.com and an avid St. Louis Cardinals fan. 

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