Boy, sometimes I feel like I can't even keep up with games for Android—I mean, the technology is ever evolving and some of the more recent games feel super modern and fresh. Just think: ego-shooters, racing games and other apps that boggle the mind with hyperreal graphics. But what about good old classics? We still love them, right? Remember puzzle games and how much fun they can be? The only snag is that they don't travel well (big ol' rectangular box, lots of little pieces that can easy go missing...).
There's a light at the end of the puzzle-conundrum tunnel, and it's called puzzle games for Android devices. Today let's take a look at Tobrix to see what it has to offer.
|Reviewed version||Latest version|
Features & Use
Test device: Sony XPERIA Active
Android version: 4.0.4
Tobrix starts off with a short demonstration to explain the concept behind the game. The goal is to solve puzzles using blocks that are reminiscent of Tetris blocks. Edge blocks are marked with a black frame which is very helpful indeed. And that's just about all there is to say about the game concept. Once you've solved a puzzle the next puzzle is unlocked and a short sound signals your success. You can check which levels you've solved and which ones are still locked.
Levels become more difficult progressively which helps to keep you hooked on the game (provided you enjoy puzzles, that is). The Tobrix mark is that every level is a photo of a famous site in different countries from all across the globe. What I like about this is that it's a fun and effective way to learn about new places in the world, especially because there's an option for consulting the related Wikipedia article (though the article will pop up in a separate browser window).
There's a standard mode as well as a Tour mode which contains the same pictures but the puzzle mode is different. Pictures are sorted according to their countries.
One of the Tour puzzle modes is very difficult (even impossible) to play because the pieces move around the playing field at will which makes the whole thing very chaotic.
The idea and concept behind the game is great but the execution is not quite there yet. The game feels somewhat incomplete. I'm awarding Tobrix three stars because I like the pictures and the game concept.
Screen & Controls
I have to be honest: Tobrix shocked me a little when I first saw it. It's very reminiscent of the 90s, including the animated 3D large pixel view of the globe.
Furthermore, the map feels a bit chaotic. The only graphically-redeemable part of the app is the puzzle itself.
Navigating the menu does not feel very intuitive, especially the Tour mode. An assistant would make things a lot easier...
Speed & Stability
Tobrix did not manage to wow me in this category, especially if one were to compare it to other puzzle games.
The XPERIA Active may not be a high performance device, but puzzle games should run smoothly on it nonetheless. Tobrix lagged quite a bit and even crashed a few times.
Tobrix costs EUR 0.77 and can be found in the App Center. The price is a bit steep considering what the app has to offer (especially in the graphics department).