You may think you’ve played this game before. Worse yet, you might believe you’re good at this game. You’d be wrong. While taking a cue from games such as Snood and Bust-A-Move, Eyegore’s Eye Blast is probably the most creative variant of this game I’ve played in a long time, or possibly ever. The game is challenging, frustrating and fun, all at the same time. And once I learned the secret to controlling your destiny even more, the game rose to a whole new level of cool.
Here’s how this genre of games works. There is a collection of objects (in this case, eyes) at or near the top of the screen, and it’s usually in motion somehow. At the bottom of the screen you have a cannon of sorts that fires individual objects up at the collection. You must match 3 or more objects of the same color to make them disappear. Already you’re seeing that this game is nothing more than a variant on the match 3 concept. In and of itself this ushered in a new level of playability to match 3 games. So what does Eyegore do that’s so special? First of all, it takes the collection of eyes and dangles it from a chain. “Isn’t that just aesthetics?” you ask. As luck would have it, the chain actually provides the game with its biggest mechanic. You see, the chain allows you to move the entire collection of eyes.
Indirectly you set things in motion every time you hit the collection with an eyeball. However, you can set things in motion yourself simply by tilting the device back and forth. Is there a tough spot you just can’t seem to reach? Try moving everything to get a clearer shot. The more you rock the device back and forth the faster the chain will swing. Better yet, in the center of the collection of eyes is a brace that’s attached to the chain. The collection will actually spin around this brace, and if it gets enough momentum it will spin completely around. Of course, all of this swinging and spinning can be both a blessing and a curse, so it’s up to you to take advantage of it as much as possible while recognizing when it won’t work for you. The other thing that’s really nice is that you can bank shots off the wall and ceiling as well.
There are two game modes to Eyegore’s Eye Blast: Challenge and Puzzle. In challenge mode there are 3 difficulty levels – easy, medium and hard – and you must clear one collection of eyeballs. In puzzle mode there are 5 areas to beat, each containing 6 levels. A level is over when you either clear all the eyeballs away or the collection crosses the line at the bottom the screen. Every time you completely miss the collection (yes, it is possible) eyeballs are added to the collection. Also, your cannon starts with a limited amount of eyeballs, and if the eyeballs run out then more are added to the collection as well. Each time you make a match, however, an eyeball is added back to the cannon. Challenge mode is timed, which I believe is merely for informational purposes, and the collection in challenge mode is just a clump of eyes, whereas the collections of eyes in puzzle mode appear to be shapes, but from a game play standpoint I haven’t noticed much difference between the two modes yet.
If I had to complain about anything (and you know that I do), it would be about the controls. They work well – you drag your finger around the screen to set the initial trajectory and let go to fire. Unfortunately, this game seems to suffer more than most from the “touch screen curse”. If I hold my finger such that I can see the playing field, I can’t see the cannon or my aiming cursor very well. On the other hand, if I hold my hand so that I’m not blocking the cannon, I tend to cover up the playing field. Most of the time I can work around it, but once in a while it gets kind of irritating.
If you’ve played the game Sneezies then you already know what to expect, but in case you haven’t (shame on you), the graphics in Eyegore’s Eye Blast are excellent. They even make headless eyeballs look cool, in a creepy headless eyeball sort of way. Of course, they still aren’t as cuddly as sneezies, but that would probably ruin the effect. The background is finely detailed and suits the theme quite well, though it would have been nice if there were at least two background – one for challenge mode and one for puzzle mode. Better yet, one for each series of levels in puzzle mode would have been awesome, but a couple to flip between would suffice. My favorite part of the visuals, however, is the little eyeball with arms and legs that pulls the lever to the cannon. It’s definitely a great character for a platform game (hint, hint).
The sound effects, while not as memorable as the sneezing from another game I keep mentioning, do compliment the atmosphere quite nicely. Whether it be the rocking of the chain or the squish of an eyeball connecting with the collection, everything sounds good. The music is quite atmospheric, and as I listen to it I can picture the band that would go with it. I see Igor hunched over a huge pipe organ, some smiling skeleton strumming a string that’s attached to it’s own bones, and a distant cousin of the winged eyeball methodically tapping away at the drums. Now that would make a cool background scene.
If you’ve not played this sub-genre of the match 3 game before, forget the high profile ones that “everyone’s” playing. This is the place you want to be. The visuals are top notch, the music and sound effects create quite an atmosphere, and the whole “dangling from a chain” mechanic add a fresh spin to the genre that has to be experienced to be appreciated. Even though I knew Retrodreamer was working on a new game I didn’t know the premise, so I had to build all my excitement from my experience with Sneezies (which wasn’t hard to do). Now that I’ve played Eyegore’s Eye Blast, all I can say is “Retrodreamer, bring on the next one”… and hopefully I can stop playing Eyegore long enough to give it a try.