One of the few times when having Toxic Balls doesn't require Penicillin.
Toxic Balls sounds like something you catch on a wild Las Vegas weekend, but in this case, it's a free iPhone app from Artefacto Estudio. Instead of running to the free clinic for a blood test, you score points by guiding multicolored balls into glass tubes. There's not much to it, but its simple design makes it worth a look.
On the screen are three glass tubes and a conveyor belt that delivers the balls. As they fall, you spin these tubes around with a finger, using horizontal swipes to determine where those toxic balls wind up. Match three and they disappear. Stack multiple colors on top of each other and they'll fill the tube. Run out of space, and it's game over.
Initially, the game throws red, green, yellow and blue balls your way. Later on, however, you'll see additional colors, and it's here where Toxic Balls becomes increasingly difficult. Managing four colors is easy, but five screws everything up. Actually, things become so maddening that in order to clear the stage, you'll have to think two or three moves ahead.
Since it's free, we didn't expect much in the way of Toxic Balls' presentation. The play field looks decent, with the tubes, balls and bland backgrounds. There are no snazzy special effects, nor is there music; all you hear is the sound of the balls exploding.
That's not as big a deal as the inability to pause the game. For whatever reason (poor design, Artefacto hates pause screens), you cannot stop the puzzling, nor can you upload high scores online. But with a mere 10 levels, it's not like you'll play very long and that's the game's biggest flaw. It just doesn't do anything drastically different from other apps, and it wasn't long before we deleted it from our phones.
Of course, it's hard to argue with free, and considering Artefacto's unique take on the familiar color matching formula, Toxic Balls deserves your attention. It won't replace Tetris or Bejeweled 2, but for gamers on a budget, it's a decent pickup. In addition, Artefacto plans to roll out an enhanced version with 30 plus levels and up to seven tubes. Whether it'll be free, however, remains to be seen.
What's Hot: Disgusting but catchy title, free and addictive.
What's Not: You can't pause the game, nor can you upload scores to online leaderboards. Needs additional modes and music.