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For: iPhone

Out on the tiles

Product: Trixel | Developer: Adept Games | Format: iPhone | Genre: Puzzle | Players: 1 | Version: Europe | App version: 1.1
Trixel iPhone, thumbnail 1
Developers set themselves up against some mighty competition when they attempt to get into the puzzle genre on the iPhone, as there can't be very many original ideas left. Now, thanks to Trixel, there’s one less.

Like all engaging puzzle games, Trixel begins with such a simple gameplay mechanic that a creeping suspicion rises through your fingers that it’s too bland to provide much prolonged entertainment. Two hours later that feeling is long forgotten, replaced by a drained battery and hand cramps.

The game is played on a small 3x3 grid. The tiles have a different colour on each side and touching them flips them over. In the top-left corner is a target pattern of coloured tiles that you’re required to match in as few moves as possible.

You can only flip a tile immediately adjacent to the cursor and every time you move the cursor over a tile, it changes colour. So even though you might only need to flip the tile in the top right corner, for instance, getting the cursor there can mean flipping all the tiles in between and messing up the pattern.

You’re told the minimum number of moves possible and win a Gold, Silver or Bronze award depending on how many moves you go over the minimum. Scoring a bronze or higher unlocks the next of the 100 levels. As the game progresses more tiles are added to the game board, significantly adding to Trixel’s brain-bending gameplay.

However, this really isn’t enough to support a game in this prolific genre. The tile flipping gameplay is good, but it’s also very basic and doesn’t offer enough diversity to really grab you by the thumbs and refuse to let go. Fortunately, that’s not all there is to Trixel.

It’s in subtleties and quirks that the game really comes to life. A host of different power-ups, bonuses, and tricks are woven into the tiles.

Crystals appear at certain trigger points and collecting enough of them allows you to buy an undo, for example, or to jump to a different tile away across the board, or even skip a level completely. These crystals are strategically placed, though, and can make your chances of landing a Gold far more difficult if you aim to collect them all up.

Before long, portals appear that cause the cursor to jump to another tile on the board, flipping both the portal’s entrance and exit. On some of the tiles is dynamite, which can explode when activated and change the colour of the surrounding tiles - a device that can either ruin your game or be used to great advantage if you know exactly how and when to set them off.

It's Trixel’s added layer of complexity that keeps you playing, and elevates it far above the simple tile swapping game it initially appears to be. Its addictiveness is found in its simplicity, with a thread of depth woven through its gameplay that keeps you playing until your knuckles cramp.
Reviewer photo
Spanner Spencer | 25 May 2009
A unique puzzle game that adds regular twists to keep itself thoroughly entertaining and playable
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