Monday, November 1, 2010

App O' The Mornin': Topple 2 Review

Price: free (currently)
Grade: C

Since I wrote about the word game called Topple! last week, this week I'll make things maximally confusing by reviewing the decidedly less enthusiastic Topple and it's somewhat annoying sequel, Topple 2.

Topple is a game that actually has a reason for being called Topple since things actually, y'know .... topple. It's your basic stacking game, and as such it is a very good example of a genre I could completely live without.

Topple and Topple 2 are the mutant offspring born from a wild night of sweet sweet love between Tetris and Jenga. (We always knew those two crazy kids would get together some day.) You have your basic "stack blocks very high" gameplay, which is never, ever fun when played by sober people. Then you have your basic "line up weird shapes to make them fit" gameplay, which was fun for about 15 minutes in 1984. Put 'em together, and you have ... well, something I really don't want to play very long.

The stacking mechanics are fine, but block manipulation is simply awkward. The two-finger block-turning control seems to have been invented for someone with tentacles instead of hands, which makes precise input rather difficult for those of us who are not the spawn of Cthulhu.

The goal of each level is to stack the blocks up to a certain height, and then beyond that to score bonus points. In Topple 2, sometimes you stack "under water," which means from top to bottom, while other times you need to stack all the way up to an egg, and then destroy the tower slowly in order to bring the egg back down without breaking it. You can also tilt the device left or right to nudge a falling toward back into line.

Topple 2 adds some other new variants, as well as a nice little multiplayer mode. This allows you to play a level, and then send your results to a friend. Your friend can then track how well you did as he tackles the same level.

That's a nice little feature. Bonus points for multiplayer! But you also have to log in a Plus+ account even if you're just playing the solo game. Double-super-negative bonus points for mandatory login! I hate forced logins for single player gaming. They always start my icons a-jigglin'.

Topple is a mostly decent little stacking game. The art is excellent, and the quantity and variety of puzzles is quite good. If you like this sort of thing, then I can't think of an app that does it better. By the same token, I also can't think of anyone who performs a cover version of "Dancing Queen" better than Abba. Some things just can't be made any better.


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