Even self-professed 'hardcore gamers' will admit that in certain situations all they really want is a well made, nicely designed puzzle game to while away a bit of time.
The great thing about puzzle games is that, when they're well made, they will give your brain a nice little work out. Also, they can usually be played in a mode that is not too stressful—a key factor when you wish to play in public, lest others see you jerking around on your seat and cursing a blue streak. Stir nice, simple graphics into the mix and what do you get? Magic Arrows. Read our thorough review after the jump.
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Features & Use
Tested on: Samsung Galaxy Tablet
Upon first downloading and opening the app you will find a brief introductory text (dotted with a few grammar errors) regarding game modes, settings options and developer feedback. The homescreen itself consists of four buttons:
- Play Game
The design theme is brightly coloured, with a cool retro font and discreet animations.
Check out the Help section for rather detailed instructions on the gameplay and the two game modes, Endless and Puzzle, as well as helpful tips at the end.
In a nutshell: the objective is to move the coloured panels in the direction indicated by the arrows, line them up according to their colour and thus clear them.
Panels can be moved in the direction of the arrow, and panels are cleared whenever three or more of the same colour ar positioned vertically or horizontally without interruption.
Mind that the further you advance, the more 'vanishing arrows' you will encounter. These are panels that feature flashing arrows, meaning they can only be moved for a limited time, after which they become immobile.
The more panel rows you manage to clear in one time, the higher your score.
Although the objective of the two game modes is the same (i.e. clear colour panels by lining them up correctly), the experiences of playing the two game modes are quite varied. The Puzzle mode features a sort of chess board on which a few coloured panels must be moved around a set perimeter. Because of the limited space fields, even the lower levels present a nice challenge. I have to commend the developers in the sense that the game's AI is so sophisticated that the app will know when you've played yourself into a corner and the restart button will discreetly flash up, indicating that you need to retrace your steps, or rather start over from the top in order to solve the puzzle.
The Endless mode consists of mobile colour panels which can be moved around more freely than in the Puzzle mode. The first endless mode I played was sheer good luck: I would clear three, perhaps four panels, and the new colour panels that dropped down would randomly form colour lines, meaning that they would clear without my having done anything. For the record, my very first round of Magic Arrows saw me sky rocket up to level 10 within three or four minutes, raking in high scores as I went.
Magic Arrows is a fantastic game for puzzle lovers and for gamers who are merely looking to kill a bit of time.
The gameplay is pretty simple but oh-so addictive. The same goes for the design: simple, but very well done.
There are two separate soundtracks for the game modes. I rather like the Endless soundtrack, but both can be deactivated or turned down if they're not to your liking.
Screen & Controls
Controls are really easy to get the hang of the design is great. Bright colours, a definite retro vibe and well though-out sound effects that underline whatever is happening on screen make Magic Arrows a well rounded out and fun gaming experience.
Speed & Stability
Magic Arrows loads quickly and runs really smoothly. The app responds well to pausing and resume a game. Absolutely no complaints here.
Magic Arrows is free and can be found in Google Play. There are in-game ad banners which proved not be a problem on the Samsung Galaxy Tab, but could prove to be a bit trickier to avoid on a smaller screen.