iPad Game Review: Piyo Blocks 2 HD Reviewed by JadeDragon
Piyo Blocks was a popular match-3 iPhone and iPod touch game. Now Big Pixel Studios brings us the iPad version, Piyo Blocks 2 HD, as a part of Chillingo family of iPad games. The Piyo Blocks 2 HD is fully optimized for the iPod?s larger display while keeping the additive gameplay intact. The larger screen does provide a bigger playing field and that provides a new gaming experience even if you have played Piyo Blocks on the iPhone and iPod touch.
Piyo Blocks 2 HD adds a few twists to the match-3 gameplay trail blazed by Bejeweled. The game concept is simple: match three or more blocks with the same color/image vertically or horizontally. The game offers three single player modes and a two-player versus mode. Piyo Mode in single player gameplay gives you an incremental set of blocks you need to match (or collect in the game?s lingo) before moving you to the next level. The timer runs pretty fast, if you don?t find the required numbers of blocks it?s game-over. If you meet the requirement, you get a new board and a fresh full timer. Nice! Hyaku Mode is an interesting concept: you must collect Piyo blocks in 99 increments and the clock is going slowly to allow you enough time to get to 99 blocks. What?s interesting in this mode is that after you collect the first 99 on any color block you get a fresh board, and since each of the 10 Piyo blocks can reach 99 at different times, you get a fresh board often, and that is a big plus as you go deep into the levels. Time Mode is basically a 4-minute rush: you get a 4-miniute window and all you want to do is to get as many Piyos and combos as possible before the timer runs out.
The gameplay is further enhanced by the bonus blocks in each playing modes. The bonus blocks (the flashing blocks) appear randomly, though when you are running out moves or time, these blocks will likely appear to help you out. They can become any of the colored blocks (don?t include the hamburger, donut, etc.) when you touch them; and when that happens all blocks with the same color on the current board will match contributing to a big fat combo. This bonus will not only earn you high scores but also generate new moves as one color is eliminated improving the odds for other colors to have more matches. If you are lucky to get 2 or 3 bonus blocks, then you can really clean up the board. And in Piyo and Hyaku modes when you have a match you turn back the clock just a bit, and when you have a combo you turn back the clock a lot. So the combos these bonus blocks help generate are invaluable as they redeem time from the running clock.
Even with the help of bonus blocks, Piyo Blocks 2 HD gameplay doesn?t last very long. Even if you are lucky and get some bonus blocks at just the right moments you will unlikely see the hundreds of levels the game has to offer. You will have to be very lucky to get to level 50 (my current personal best is level 50 in Hyaku Mode). Big Pixel Studios told us that they are working on more bonus designs that might help extend the gameplay time, and that?s great news. The game is very additive, and the only interruption for the gameplay is a fast running timer with little bonus to slow it down.
The Two player mode is a great addition for friends and family to play the game together. The combos are the key in the two-player mode where whoever survives the longest wins. The combos you make will fill the Combo bar, and when the bar is full, Ski Dog goes into action to freeze blocks on your opponent?s board. Then you can just enjoy watching their red timer bar go down as the frozen blocks mess up their moves.
There are global and local high scoreboards for each playing Mode.
Graphics & Sound
Piyo Blocks 2 HD has delicious looking graphics. Each color Piyo has eyes and a mouth that can move (when you ask for hint or timer runs out, you will see their mouths shout out) and the hamburger and donut blocks look yummy. The Piyo girl fits with the game and title screens are polished.
Piyo Blocks 2 HD has a fitting sound track that?s upbeat and kind of techno, but that?s the only track you will hear during the entire gameplay. Needless to say it gets repetitive. Sound FX is cute and fits theme of the gameplay.
For match-3 gamers Piyo Blocks 2 HD is a good bet on the iPad. The game looks gorgeous and the gameplay is addictive. The sliding touch control works very smoothly on the iPad and the larger playing field feels luxurious. We look forward to the upcoming update that promises more bonus items and longer gameplay time!
Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):
Graphics: - 5 - Attractive, 3D and smooth. Sound: - 4 - Nice sound track but repetitive, nice sound effect. Controls: - 4.5 - Smooth and effortless. Gameplay: - 4 - Three single player modes and a versus two player mode make the gameplay fun. Needs more splash and action.
Playing Hints and Tips:
Protect your timer in all modes. Use the bonus blocks to gain back time. But don?t touch multiple bonus blocks continuously. Let more colors populate the board first.