This Week's Gaming Distractions: Mujo

As puzzle games become more ubiquitous, developers need to have a hook to really nab a player. Mujo is evidence of what happens when the market is saturated; its gameplay is fairly standard for a puzzle, but the design around it is both creative and frustrating.

Master your iPhone in one minute a day:

Sign up to iPhone Life's Tip of the Day Newsletter and we'll send you a tip each day to save time and get the most out of your iPhone or iPad.

Mujo ($1.99)

iPhone Life Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars

At its essence, Mujo is all about tapping tiles. You tap groups of three or more tiles to make them disappear and increase your score. If you tap and hold a group, the tiles will stack into one space which has a bigger value than its neighbors. If you're stuck, you can tap to add a row of tiles to the bottom of the board. You have a limited number of lightning bolts, which are used to zap specific tiles in your way and activate special abilities; lightning bolts can be purchased inside the app. Mujo's hook is that it's all based around Greek and Roman gods; they have special abilities for you to use, and you can mix and match a variety of these gods into your three available special ability slots. Every level is also framed as a battle; red tiles are attacks, and every time you make them disappear it lowers the bad guy's health meter. The other colors go towards raising the levels of the gods at your disposal, which increases your attack proficiency.

Mujo is fun, but it takes a while to get to that point. The tutorial isn't terribly clear on the strategy the game requires, which takes some getting used to. This is a longer game than Candy Crush or Bejeweled; each level can require a good number of minutes to finish, and sometimes you just have to start over again from the beginning of the stage. Stacks of several thousand points aren't uncommon in the upper levels; you just have to keep grinding away, losing as much ground as you gain until you get the right combination of tiles in the right place. There are bombs which take out an entire row and column if they reach the top of the screen, and blank tiles which get in the way of matches; both can be dealt with using the special abilities of the gods at your disposal, but each god can only use their ability once and then must recharge for about 100 moves.

Mujo is a difficult game, and I'm not sure if it's just intricate in its strategy or poorly balanced and in need of an update; it's a bit of a toss-up. I would like for there to be more of a cushion in the earlier levels, giving the player a chance to come up with a game plan and get a feel for how Mujo works. That said, if you're looking for a unique challenge game, definitely give Mujo a try.

Master your iPhone in one minute a day: Sign up here to get our FREE Tip of the Day delivered right to your inbox.
Topics: 

Mia Steinberg is a freelance writer and webmaster, living and working in Victoria, British Columbia. She is the host of Particles and Waves, an eclectic music radio show, and has written for XOJane, Cinefilles, and various Canadian university newspapers. Her website is <a href="http://particlesandwavesshow.com">particlesandwavesshow.com</a>, and she can be found talking about Game of Thrones at <a href="http://www.twitter.com/miasteinberg">twitter.com/miasteinberg</a>