By Eric Pankoke on Tue, 08/28/2012
When I first saw Gluey I was a bit concerned that it was going to be too much like another iOS game I really like called Globs. Thankfully the two are not really similar at all, because now I don’t have to decide which one I like better – I can enjoy them both as the separate games they are. Gluey is a lot of fun, and the dynamically flowing game board keeps the player on their toes. I do think the game could stand a name change, though, as Gluey just doesn’t do the concept much justice.
Your job is to free the Glueys (okay, so I guess the name does have a purpose) from a series of containers that they have been forced to inhabit. Unfortunately these creatures must have A.D.H.D., because they just can’t seem to sit still. When a big enough mass of a particular color gets together you can tap on it to free it, potentially making room for more globs depending on the game mode you are playing. Some masses might contain special power ups like bombs that will clear away some surround globs as well or the snowflake which will freeze the playing field, keeping new globs from entering for two or three taps. My favorite power up is reversing gravity, which sends all the non-attached globs to the top for easy pickings for three rounds.
You start with Puzzle mode which unlocks strategy mode, which in turn unlocks survival mode. In puzzle mode your only real obstacle is that you have to score a certain number of points with a limited amount of blobs. It kind of reminds me of the old Jawbreaker PocketPC game. In strategy mode you’ll have to contend with an upper line that you can’t cross, as well as sometimes a pit of toxic waste at the bottom that the Glueys don’t like. Luckily you do have a couple of seconds to clear some space if they get above the line. In both of these modes you must reach a certain blob capacity, which is actually a number different than your score. Each time you clear a group of blobs you’ll see a number float up which gets added to your blob count. In survival mode you just have to keep clearing away blobs until they overflow the container. In any mode you also lose if you run out of moves (this happens mainly in puzzle mode).
What really makes this game stand out is the way the board is constantly shifting. As you remove blobs from the playing field, other blobs that were once big enough to tap away might split apart. Sometimes globs appear to fluctuate and even change color for no apparent reason, despite the fact that you’re not doing anything. It can be frustrating when you go to tap a blob and it literally splits as you’re trying to tap it, but that also makes for an interesting challenge you won’t experience in most puzzle games.
The visuals are simply but really cool. There’s basically no background because most of the screen is taken up by the container du jour. The globs are black outlines with a solid color inside, and once they are big enough to tap they’ll usually have eyes popping up. They might also have one or more little icons embedded in them representing the different power ups they contain. It’s a lot of fun watching the blobs shift and seeing the eyes move around to different parts of a blob as it gets bigger or smaller. The sound effects for tapping an unadulterated blob aren’t bad, but the noises for a bomb or nuke filled blob are silly and do get kind of annoying sometimes. The music is fun with its combination of xylophone and bells, among other things, but gets repetitive after a while.
Gluey is another fine example of what a puzzle game can be when you’re not trying to make another match 3 mash-up or Angry Birds clone. The game is fun, it’s challenging, and the lighthearted atmosphere even makes the “over the line” timer not quite so intense. Gluey is one of those games that you get if you don’t feel like saying to yourself “gee, I think I’ve played this one before”. You can save that for all the Gluey clones that will come in the future.
Overall Score: 9/10
App Store Link
This game was review on an iPod Touch 4 running iOS 5.1.1.