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Quick Look: Clock Blocks for iPhone

Rating 4.60 out of 5
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A lot of people were happy that Apple kept Flash off of their iDevices, claiming that Flash would offer nothing but junk to Apple’s tightly closed system.  While it’s true that there are a lot of mediocre and even bad Flash applications, given the right developer there’s also a lot of fun to be had.  80d Games is such a developer, and thankfully they decided to port their game Clock Blocks to the iPhone since it still doesn’t support flash.  This is a unique action-puzzle game that will capture the attention of the casual gamer and intrepid puzzler alike.

The objective of the game is simple – the screen is filled with block shaped clocks, and you need to clear them all off the screen in one chain reaction.  A bullet will strike one of the clocks on the left side of the screen, and you have until the clock’s hand travels a full revolution around the clock face to tap the screen and send the bullet to the next clock.  As long as you keep hitting clocks you keep going.  If you miss a clock you have to start the level over.  If a clock makes a full revolution you have to start the level over.

The game is all about timing and reflexes.  Not every clock moves at the same speed, nor is every clock the same size.  In quest and survival modes the clocks will be in different configurations on the screen, and in survival mode once a clock disappears another clock randomly appears somewhere else.  As a result there is no single strategy for beating a given level in a given game play mode.  When you’re playing one of the modes where the clocks stay away once they’ve been struck, it’s often a matter of luck hitting the final clock in the chain.

Clock Blocks has 3 game play modes.  In Quest mode you have to defeat 40 levels of increasingly complex combinations of clocks.  There’s no difficulty setting on this one, and thankfully you can always pick up at the first level you haven’t yet completed.  When playing survival mode you simply must keep going until you miss a clock.  Every time you shoot a clock another one will appear somewhere else, and the difficulty settings determine the size of the clocks, their spacing, and how quickly the hands revolve.  Finally there’s classic mode, which fills the screen with clocks and keeps a tally of the number of times you can completely clear a screen.  Again difficulty settings determine the size and speed of the clocks, though here the configuration is always nicely lined rows and columns.

This is one of the rare puzzle games where I actually enjoy all three game play modes.  Usually I tend to gravitate more towards the quest type modes, and while that’s still my favorite here, it’s easy to jump into the other modes for a couple of rounds of play.

Visually the game takes a minimalist approach, and it actually suits the game quite well.  There really aren’t any special effects in the game, and the smiley face when you beat a level or frowny face when you lose a level are actually kind of silly.  I do like the fact that as the active clock gets a shadow around it as your time runs out.  The sound effects are just as basic.  I am quite impressed with the music.  Each mode has its own theme, and they’re all pretty nice to listen to.

If you’re looking for a nice diversion between bouts of Cut The Rope or Angry Birds, Clock Blocks is just the game to fit the bill.  The concept is almost absurdly simple, the control is a piece of cake, and yet as the game gets rolling it can get quite challenging.  If you’re into pomp and circumstance you might be a bit disappointed by the lack of frills, but as far as I’m concerned the core game play more than makes up for it.

Final Verdict: Recommended
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