By Nate Adcock on Mon, 01/18/2010
SPB Quads is one of those pattern matching games that will eat up mucho amounts of your time. You can read my review after the break, but SPB has also been nice enough to sponsor 3 FREE codes for our readers, so if you want to try out a new twist on an old theme, comment here on the review for a chance to win. I have played my share of these kinds of games over the years, so was prepared to try and stop the madness at a set amount of time (lot's of reviews are piling up). I still ended up losing 2 hours of my life. It's a simple yet addictive formula. Read on for the review and contest giveaway rules.
The premise here is really pretty simple. You match up 4 tiles of the same color in a perfect square somewhere on the board (some tiles feature a spinning multi-color, and are thus wildcards). If you are idle for too long, the game will give you hints (see arrows above). Once you have found a four-square area, you clear the tiles by tap-selecting 2 of the corner points. Tiles in between will also disappear and you receive points for all tiles that were cleared. A new set of tiles promptly drops down to replace them. You advance to new levels (and tile colors/power-ups) by racking up points until the slider is shown above moves over to the 100% mark.
My favorite part of the game are the various power-ups (called bonuses). Power-ups activate if you clear an area of tiles that contain one. Power-ups come in several forms. For instance, note the tile above with the dynamite icon. It (when activated) will begin to spark and make a fuze-like noise, eventually exploding and clearing several nearby tiles. A more destructive version looks like a nuclear reactor symbol (atom bomb), and amusingly creates a red-alert warning. It will clear a much large area of tiles. The problem is activating power ups quickly, as their on-screen life is limited to a brief period when they first appear (they will start flashing), and they fade from view if you do clear the area around them quickly enough.
The key to Quads is quick pattern recognition skills. The quicker you locate the quads (size matters, as the bigger the quad, the bigger the point bonus), and activate power-ups, the more readily you advance. My favorite bonus is the Eye bonus. Once activated, it will reveal the largest quad currently on screen. The Freeze bonus is handy as well, as it will freeze all tiles of the same color, and remove them when it expires.
SPB is one of my favorite mobile software developers from way back in the Windows Mobile days. Their products are always top-notch, and Quads is a good time killer kind of game, but could use a few tweaks. I would like a little better mix of music for one thing (or create your own background mix), which is a big part of these endlessly looping puzzle games (part of why they keep you hypnotized into playing). Several times, I couldn't activate a quad in time to grab a bonus due to edge of screen proximity fouling up my input (another minor aggravation). Still it did effectively what it was designed to do: Kill 2 hours of my evening, so go check it out at the link below (Now only $0.99 cents), or comment below for a chance to win a freebie code...