But does it grind our gears, or is it a match made in heaven?
It's hard for any match-three game to stand out in the App Store amidst a flood of these sorts of puzzler but, aesthetically at least, Twis Time certainly makes an interesting mark with its use of steam-punk icons, hissing cogs, intricate time-piece gears and mechanical techno-spheres. To cut straight to the point, it won't surprise you to learn that the broad gameplay requires you to shift one of these items up or down, left or right, in order to create a matching line of three which then evaporate, letting the next set of items cascade down.
You've got the usual staples of a match-three here. There's Classic mode where you're simply given all the time in the world to build up as high a score as possible, while Time Trial gives you a fixed amount of time with which to beat your best score. Survival is a blisteringly fast take on this timed mode, but rewards successful match-ups by topping the time meter up with a few precious seconds.
The Combo 20 mode gives you 20 "get out of jail" cards should you find yourself out of moves, allowing you to shift tiles around to open up new matching opportunities, or you can just create a massive score of points through setting up a domino chain of match-ups. The similarly-named Combo mode only gives you two of these emergency moves, with a new one only being awarded when you score another 25,000 points.
While in may ways it's prettier than your average match-three puzzler, the animations are very stilted and overly-long. It's satisfying to see the cogs whizz and whirl around before disappearing in a puff of smoke, but this very quickly leads to a frustratingly slow-paced puzzler. Not only are these animations a little rough around the edges, they also serve no gameplay purpose other than to hold up your scoring efforts.
Had the animations been smoothed out a little, and the option added to begin working on other match-ups while the current one finishes (a la Zookeeper), then TwisTime would be a much, much more satisfying and enjoyable experience, even if the gameplay modes don't really bring anything that revolutionary to the table.
It's impossible to review TwisTime without at least raising a discussion of the music. In one mode, a sort of harmonium-hell of discordant organ sloshes and staccato orchestral stabs drones on, while a four-second sci-fi noodle loops forever in yet another mode. It really doesn't bear listening to for very long at all I'm afraid, and it doesn't do a great deal to disguise or distract you from the slow pace of the game.
There are many, many match-three titles on the App Store, and it's hard to establish how exactly TwisTime differentiates itself from the masses beyond its purely aesthetic appeal. While it's certainly unique in appearance, other titles on the App Store bring more to the gameplay. At the end of the day, that's where your precious gaming time gets used up, and that's also how the final evaluation is made.
What's Hot: A very nice styling and the combo modes add some variety to the genre.
What's Not: Dreary and repetitive music combined with gameplay that's paced far too slowly for us.