Today PressOK Entertainment released their newest title, Flipstones. The game is a sometimes frantic combination of matching, tapping and line-drawing. Tap a stone and draw a line to its destination togroup like-colored stones together to form big four-stone triangles or six-stone hexagons. Then DESTROY these polygons to take advantage of their unique effects. Easily distinguished by their colors, some of these stones fly, some speed up play and others even explode, taking out other stones.
Across the top of the screen is a conveyor belt showing the next set of stones. As you move stones around the board, the man on the belt will move from the right to the left, and when he reaches the end, all the stones remaining on the belt are placed randomly across the board. The only way to preemptively eliminate stones from the belt is by creating (and activating) either a big yellow triangle or hexagon and utilizing it’s special power. Removing pieces from the belt, means less stones will be placed on the board when the conveyor operator reaches the end of the line.
Flipstones features two distinct game play modes, endurance and challenge. Endurance mode has 18 distinct stages, each with its own OpenFeint leaderboard. As you might expect, the goal is to last as long as you can. Requiring a good deal of strategy and a little bit of luck, endurance mode presents players with a constant battle against the conveyor belt as they try to clear space before the next batch of stones is pushed onto the board. For the most part, you can play at your own pace, but you must be economical in your movements to avoid the conveyor dumping more stones before you have room. Learning when it’s best to activate certain colors of stones is tantamount to your success.
Challenge mode contains over 80 levels, each of which have unique tasks which you must accomplish. These could be anything from creating 4 yellow hexagons to scoring a certain number of points before time runs out. Unlike the endurance mode, the conveyor operator is constantly moving, forcing you to be quicker with your moves, and playing a more reactive game vs. the slow and calculated nature of endurance mode. At times challenge mode can get rather hectic and i a way can be even more difficult than the endurance mode. With its constantly changing goals it offers a good deal of variety. Some of the earlier missions are really basic an while they offer a nice tutorial into the game, ramp up could be a bit faster. Although, if you bear with them, the tasks do get harder (much harder), believe me when I tell you, these challenges can get REALLY intense!
As you can see in the screenshots below, Flipstones features some very crisp and color graphics and nice rolling animations when the stones are moving and big explosions. It also contains some pleasant in-game music and an alternative 2 tap method of control which eliminates the need to draw the path for each stone you are moving. I found myself preferring this control scheme as it seemed to be a bit faster, even though you give up a little control on the path the stones take.
To be successful, Flipstones requires a good deal strategy and planning of how best to utilize the special features of the stones, some quick thinking and just the right amount of luck. I really liked the fact that the game allows you to develop your own strategy and caters toward both calculating and reactive play styles. Perhaps the only things that I’d like to see added are even more special stone types and a 60-second blitz mode with it’s own leaderboard. While Flipstones is essentially a match 4 or 6 game, it offers a nice departure from the usual adjacent piece-swapping game play mechanic of traditional match games. If your current batch of match-style games is getting a bit stale then you should check out Flipstones for a refreshing little twist on the genre.
After finding myself wanting to play this game more and more, I have decided to bump my review score by 1/2 a point. This game is rather addictive!