gadg-et-oid [gaj-it-oid]


1. having the characteristics or form of a gadget;
resembling a mechanical contrivance or device.

Spooky Spirits: Puzzle Drop! – iPhone review

Spooky SpiritsIf you’re looking for a delightful little puzzle game to keep you entertained on the go, then you’ll be pleased to hear that Spooky Spirits: Puzzle Drop! is now available on the iTunes store for iPhone and iPod Touch, published by Legendo Entertainment.

Somehow developers Innogiant have managed to combine the addictive gameplay characteristics of Tetris and Dr Mario into this excellent app.

Not many games that hit the iPhone store last longer than a day on my phone. And it’s not because I have a short attention span, but more that the quality of games available is really rather dire. The few that have captivated my attention have mainly been puzzle games, and so things were not destined for a great change when I got my hands on Spooky Spirits: Puzzle Drop!

In the past, some of my favourite games have been the matching coloured shapes to make them disappear style game – Columns, Doctor Robotniks Mean Bean Machine, Dr Mario, Bust a Move 2 and most recently Bejeweled 2. There’s something very familiar about Spooky Spirits in the way it is really simple to play, the premise is not at all complicated, yet you can be hooked quite easily for long periods.

There are three game modes available and a very intuitive control system that utilises the touch screen extremely well. The object of the game is to drop sets of coloured blocks into a playing area that is slowly filling up. There are four different colours that the blocks can be, and when matching colours touch they merge visually to demonstrate a connection is taking place.

Spooky Spirits title screen
Title screen

Spooky Spirits Frantic mode
Panic Mode

In order to make the correct coloured connections, you can move the cursor left and right, then flicking upwards causes the blocks to switch places and flicking down will drop them into the playing area. Occasionally, a flashing coloured block will appear and you have to try and drop it onto the corresponding coloured blocks to dissolve them, earn points and capture the “spookies” that have been unleashed upon the world.

In the Panic Mode, there are many levels that contain spookies, it is your job to capture them all and once you have hit the allotted score you move on to the next stage. As you get further into this mode, the requirements for success become much higher and the pace becomes more frenetic.

In Puzzle mode you are given a board layout with a fixed number and position of coloured blocks already in place, your job is to correctly remove all the blocks by dropping blocks from above in a certain number of moves. It can be quite challenging at times to work out the solution, but fortunately this mode does not put you up against the clock, so you can freely ponder the right moves to make.

Spooky Spirits Puzzle mode
Puzzle mode

Spooky Spirits Eternity mode
Eternity mode

The final game mode (and my personal preference) is Eternity mode, which plays almost exactly like the Frantic Mode but with the removal of the score target. The objective is to get as high a score as you can before you overflow the board and lose the game. There is a high score table built in to the memory, and multiple players can save their individual progress across all three modes.

Some improvements could be made in future patches, such as being able to flip the screen around to allow left handed people to play without obscuring the sound and also being able to replay previous puzzles. Otherwise, the combination of different game modes, a simple premise and a really accessible control system make this game stand out for me as one of the better puzzle games available on the iTunes store.

Spooky Sprits: Puzzle Drop! scores four ectoplasm coated stars out of five and is available for a little over £1 for the full version, as well as having a free Christmas themed “lite” version, so you’d be ghoulish (pun) not to try it.

Four stars

Monday, December 14th, 2009, Computer Gaming, Featured, iPhone.