Puzzle games come in all shapes and sizes, especially in mobile gaming. There aren’t a lot that’s truly original – at most they’re unique versions of classics like Bejeweled or Tetris. When I came across Slydris, I didn’t expect much, except maybe for the graphics to be at least above average, considering it’s not a free game. What I found was an intricate puzzle game that’s not for the impatient, but certainly tests the true puzzle gamer.
A Game From the Future
Slydris’ interface and graphics remind me of Tron, with arced objects and their glowing edges, set in a minimalistic black (or you can change it white) background. This set up is common among futuristic arcade games, but I’m not sure if I’ve seen lots of it in a puzzle game. Common or not, the visual strategy works. At first, I thought there was nothing special about it, but I later realized the colors play a very nice role in the game – that is to reward your eyes for trying to figure out a challenging puzzle.
The game’s main rule is to fill one horizontal line with the color blocks, so it can be cleared and give way to more blocks that fall from above. Blocks can be moved sideways, one at a time. All blocks, including ones that come from the top, can be moved prior to falling into the heap. Blocks don’t have to be of the same color to clear. That’s where I was wrong at first, thinking I can only match same-colored blocks, and later realizing it was impossible to finish the game with that rule.
Three Ways to Slide
There are three modes: Infinite, Zen and Survival. Infinite lets you clear one level after the next, recording your score and awarding certain achievements along the way. When the blocks fill up until the top of the heap, the game ends. In Zen mode, the game goes on regardless of how high the blocks have stacked up. There are no achievements in this mode. Finally, Survival ends when blocks fill up. Blocks fall down five times in one drop interval, giving you only a few seconds to move them around to clear them. In summary, Zen is easy, Infinite is moderate and Survival is hard.
Whatever mode you choose, there’s a Bomb feature – a time-based power-up you can use to clear three lines in one go. This, however, requires time to be activated, and it cools down after each use. I find that this is not at all necessary, just as long as you get used to sliding blocks fast enough to clear them before they reach the top. However, if you’re just starting out and in the midst of getting a full heap, then this is the best weapon to avoid starting over.
You can save multiple game data for each mode – this is a paid game, after all. So each progress for each game session is saved when you quit. You can also customize a background type: Dark or Light. I prefer the lighter background just because I can “see” the blocks better.
You can also choose three kinds of background music, all of which are pretty cool.
As mentioned, Slydris graphics are sneakily attractive – and it’s not evident in the first few seconds of game play. Give it time and you’ll see what I mean. Sliding blocks around can get monotonous, if not for the visual surprises along the way.
Slydris is a game I started out reluctantly, and I did not get the rules at first. After giving it another chance, I ended up actually enjoying it. If you read tutorials better than me, you should go straight to enjoying this game. The game play is the right blend of challenging and fun, graphics and sound are top notch, and it doesn’t limit you to only one way of playing with its three modes.
I love the distraction-free gaming environment (no pesky ads, no in-app purchases!) above all. It’s the icing on top of the cake, and it makes sliding blocks so much more engaging. For anyone who’s looking for a sophisticated and futuristic puzzle game, Slydris is an excellent choice.