Tetris meets Words With Friends in this brilliant puzzler.
Apple fans have been raving about Puzzlejuice and for good reason. It's a wonderful blend of Tetris and word search (or Scrabble/Words With Friends...even Boggle, if you prefer) that forces you to multitask like few puzzle games in recent memory. Throw in cool music, power-ups and modes, and you have one the best reasons to spend a dollar on the App Store.
Similar to Tetris, blocks fall from the top of the screen, and you must arrange them to make lines, rotating shapes and snapping those suckers into place. Doing this, or simply connecting three mini blocks of the same color, produces letters. From there, you search through them to spell words, dragging a finger from the first to last letter in various directions, even diagonally. Do that, and the blocks disappear.
Thing is, you need to keep an eye on those constantly falling blocks, because if they reach the top of the screen, it's game over.
What ensues is puzzle-matching madness, as you race to form lines ala Tetris while identifying potential words. It's a bit easier on Hard since making words also destroys surrounding blocks. Not so on Euro Mode. Before long, the screen fills and your brain short circuits.
That said, games can last quite a while, so be sure to set aside some time. On the flip side, Colaboratory was smart to include Zen Mode Extreme, which gives you 90 seconds to achieve as high a score as possible. You know, in case you need to rush.
Meanwhile, Puzzlejuice comes with six power-ups that do a variety of things, from blowing up portions of the screen to freezing blocks, but you'll need to unlock them by completing different tasks.
Finally, there's multiplayer...sort of. You won't see it on the main screen, but theoretically, you could enjoy the game with another person using the same iPhone or iPad, with one player arranging the blocks while the other spells words.
Of course, the fact that Puzzlejuice comes with Game Center (and therefore leaderboard) support only makes it that much more addictive.
The only thing that bugs us is the way the blocks move, particularly if you speed them up by quickly dragging a finger downward. It's a bit jerky and not nearly as smooth as in Tetris. Could've definitely benefited from some last minute tweaks.
As it stands, kudos to the developers for merging different puzzle types into one new and exciting concept. Puzzlejuice lacks flash and playing on the iPhone is a challenge (small letters), but it more than makes up for that with engaging play. Definitely one of the best brainteasers out there, and well worth a measly $0.99.
Requirements: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad.Requires iOS 3.1.3 or later.
What's Hot: Two different games smashed together, great way to practice multitasking, Hard and Euro modes, power-ups, Game Center, universal, $0.99, cool music.
What's Not: Minimal presentation, unlocking power-ups takes a lot of work, minor control issues.