Monday, January 28, 2008

FREE DOWNLOAD Mobile game - Slide N Loop

Let us start by saying mobile phones don't need any more match-'em-up puzzle games. There are already more of them than anyone could play in a lifetime and many are very good. The genre has arguably already reached its zenith.

Okay, now that we've got that out of the way, allow us to swerve wildly onto a different track altogether and contradict ourselves by saying mobiles need more match-'em-up puzzle games that are as good as Slide N' Loop.

With a name like Slide N' Loop, you'd be forgiven for thinking that this game is some sort of Line Rider clone, but it isn't. It's a match-'em puzzle game and despite its flaws is probably one of the best and most original that we've played this year.

So what makes it special? The game consists of a grid filled with different icons, and a main character called Zia that can move around the edges of the grid. The objective is to match three or more of the same icon in a row in order to make them disappear. You do this by positioning Zia with the thumbstick (or the '2', '6', '4' and '8' keys, respectively) next to the row – either vertical or horizontal – that you want to move, and finally pressing '5' to move it one place away from you. The catch is that if your action doesn't result in a match, you have a heart deducted. And you only have three to lose.

As you progress (which happens every time you match a certain quota of icons per level), various power-ups and hindrances are introduced to the mix. For example, Zia can collect a paddle that enables you to whack a row so that it cycles until you tell it to stop, making it possible to match icons that are separated by more than one block. Certain matched combinations also cause the controls to momentarily be reversed or limit Zia's ability to move quickly around the grid.

Sporadically throughout the levels, enemies are introduced to play. These also try to match icons in the grid, thereby adding a frenetic pace to the proceedings, requiring you to execute the potential groups of three you are eyeing quickly – certainly before your opponent either gets there first or scuppers your plan by rearranging the grid with a move of their own.

It is when this aspect is in play that the game really shines. It has moments where you are clinging to an advantage by the skin of your teeth, not unlike Bomberman, coupled with the methodical satisfaction of a more traditional match-'em-up game such as Chuzzle. Unfortunately, this aspect is also one of the game's biggest missed opportunities.

A Bluetooth multiplayer option would really have come into its own here and although playing against the AI is fun, swearing blue murder at your phone doesn't carry with it the same sense of closure as doing the same to a human opponent.

That's not to say this isn't a reasonably full package. Completing the Adventure mode unlocks two other game types, Chromos and Survival, which does help to pad out the relatively slim 16 available levels.

There are other problems. The presentation, though great in-game, is buggy in the front-end and certain menu options occasionally disappear and become hard to navigate. Even so, that hardly matters when the core mechanic here is everything that match-'em-up puzzles have long since ceased to be: it is imaginative, it is original and it is addictive. Highly recommended.

Click to Download From Rapidshare


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