iPhone Life magazine

Review: Voroflow by Abstratum

Someone once I asked me how I pick games to review, and obviously without being able to play them there’s a lot of trust in screen shots and descriptions, whether from the developers themselves or from forums and other such public avenues.  Once I finally get my hands on a game the focus then becomes the fun factor.  However, I also try to focus on games that are unusual in a positive way, because these are the ones that tend to become classics once people stop overlooking them.  Voroflow definitely falls into the “unusual” category, and as a match 3 lover I’m glad the developer was kind enough to bring it to my attention.

Just Peachy
 

Voroflow is a matching game, but it’s not quite like anything I’ve played before.  The object is to match 4 or more of a color, but that’s where the similarity to other matching games ends.  There are no squares or really any discernable shapes for that matter.  The board is simply filled with a variety of oddly shaped pieces of different colors.  You select one and drag it around to rest with others of a like color, but there is no restriction on where you can move it.  As you move the piece around its shape will continually morph, and by the time you get it where you want it might not even be the right size to connect the pieces you had intended on joining.

Once you let go, if you’ve managed to connect 4 or more objects of the same color they will vanish, and several more pieces will appear, though the number might not be the same as what vanished.  You can also clear an already established group of 4 or more by double tapping on it.  There is no such thing as chains or anything like that, so you must purposefully make each match and make it count.  At the top of the screen is a meter that decreases with each move and when it is empty the game is over.  If you clear all the objects within the move limit you beat the level and move on to the next.  Once the game is over you get a final score and it’s on to the next game.

Shape Shifting
 

The main problem I have with Voroflow is that it needs something a bit more than just trying to get the new high score.  Maybe some achievements would help the situation, or possibly even another game mode, though I can’t fathom what that would be at this point.  Right now I’m stuck to where I can’t rise above my current level, and it’s getting kind of frustrating not being able to “advance” in the game any.  It’s still fun to try, but that might wear off if I can’t move beyond my current level soon.  The only other issue is that it’s easy to accidentally drag the wrong piece, especially as the levels get harder and the pieces get smaller.  Voroflow almost needs an undo of sorts.

The graphics are pretty basic, but in this case it works just fine.  The playing field is filled with a bunch of different colored objects that don’t even really have distinct borders other than the fact that the color changes.  Watching the shapes morph as you drag them around the screen is kind of slick.  The sound effects are just as basic, though the difference between making a match and not is distinct enough that you know when you missed the mark.  There is no music, which is one thing I think should be fixed, especially given the slow paced nature of the game.

How To Play
 

Voroflow won’t be for everyone, even when it comes to match 3 aficionados.  The apparent lack of rules governing how the shapes morph or the number of pieces that appear after a match can be frustrating, as is the lack of different game play modes.  Still, for what the game is I find it highly intriguing, and as a match 3 nut myself I rather enjoy it.  I do hope the developer will consider expanding the game play possibilities down the road (and please add music), but for me Voroflow is an experience I’m glad I had.

Overall Score: 7/10
App Store Link

This game was reviewed on an iPod Touch 4 running iOS 5.1.1.

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Eric Pankoke has been a gamer for more than 20 years. He began with arcade games, moving to consoles and eventually handhelds and Pocket PCs. Now he spends most of his time on one of his iOS devices. Eric has written more than 700 gaming reviews, which have appeared on a number of gaming websites as well as several issues of both Smartphone & Pocket PC and iPhone Life magazines. He regularly contributes to iphonelife.com and TouchMyApps. Ultimately he hopes to eventually develop games himself for whatever the hot mobile device is when he finally gets moving.