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iPhone  header logo

Flipstones

For: iPhone

Yabba-dabba-don't

Product: Flipstones | Developer: PressOK Entertainment | Publisher: PressOK Entertainment | Format: iPhone | Genre: Puzzle | Players: 1 | Networking: wireless (network) | Version: US | App version: 1.1
 
Flipstones iPhone, thumbnail 1
For years Bejeweled 2 has dominated the match-three genre with a gem-encrusted fist.

It's so iconic that it has become something of a cliche to compare puzzlers to PopCap's series, yet when a game like Flipstones comes along it's hard not to think of the jewel-matching title.

After spending some time with Flipstones you may begin to appreciate the nuances of the genre king and all that have since followed. While it tries to put forth some interesting ideas, it just can't compare to the throngs of puzzlers that have come before it.

Meet the Flipstones

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The main objective is to assemble like-colouted triangular pieces into groups of four or more. When pieced together into larger triangles and hexagons, the gems explode into points.

You're free to move the triangular gems anywhere on the screen so long as there is a clear path to the denoted destination. Every space into which a gem moves reduces a timer that determines when the next group of gems falls onto the screen. When the field is completely filled, you lose.

The main problem with Flipstones is that it relies too much on chance and not enough on skill. All puzzle games rely on a fine balance between the two: chance ensures that no two games are alike, while skill provides you with the means to advance fairly.

Flipstones errs too much on the side of chance. This creates a game that is too random, which in turn limits the role of skill. In other words, your own ability to match gems is seemingly never enough to overcome the randomness of the levels. At its best it's a fun challenge, but at its worst random chance is literally the only way to win.

Scratched diamond in the rough


There are levels that demand dozens of attempts before progress is made. Winning is often a mathematical impossibility from the start and on these (fairly common) occasions, the game automatically ends play a couple seconds after you begin.

Flipstones does have some interesting ideas that make its randomness an impediment to enjoyable puzzle play. The system of exploding your matches for a boost can be used strategically to give you a push forward.

But it's worth noting that the play area is quite small and the triangles are comparatively large, so more often than not you have to clear them away immediately rather than wait for the perfect time.

Failing geometry

The goals sometimes depart from the standard objective of clearing the screen or acquiring a set number of points. Eliminating a certain number or yellow gems from the field, for example, introduces something a little different. There isn't a ton of variation, but there's been an effort at least.

These sparse few innovations save Flipstones from being totally forgettable, yet there's just not enough to make it stand out in a crowded genre.

This is a decent, functional game suitable for a five-minute diversion, if you're willing to look past its faults. That's hardly a ringing endorsement, though, particularly given the long list of exemplary puzzlers that could pack the same five minutes with more exciting gameplay.
 
Flipstones
Reviewer photo
Andrew Groen | 12 August 2010
Flipstones lacks the variety and right balance between chance and skill to be consistently enjoyable
 
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