Floe, a cute slide puzzler developed by Otterly and released by Clickgamer, is now available from the app store. Using tilt controls, you must orient the tetris-like blocks within the puzzle area to create a safe path for the tiny polar bear to find the exit and continue his search for his mother.
- Cute graphics
- Good use of touch and tilt controls
- Crystal & GameCenter integration
- Challenging puzzles
- Some control sensitivity issues
- Not a lot of replay value
Floe features a single game mode and difficulty level, with 64 levels of gameplay listed in the Stars section (though only 48 appear in the level select screen). Standing upon a square ice floe, you must tilt your device to cause the 3D blocks to slide around and open up new pathways for the bear, who moves to the position that you indicate by tapping on the screen. Often, the bear’s journey will be broken into steps, as you move the blocks, then move the bear, then move the blocks some more, then move the bear again, and so on until you have a clear path to the exit. You can temporarily freeze one block set at a time by tapping on it, leaving it stuck in its position until you tap it or tap another block set. This can serve to keep a block from sliding into a certain area or it can act as a barrier preventing other blocks from moving. Some exits have a red balloon, which can allow you to skip a future level that you find too difficult. Based on the number of block slides that occur before you reach the exit, you may earn a star upon completion. The overall goal is to collect stars on all levels. You can undo any and all moves or restart the level at any time. It is a simple game that can seem quite difficult at times.
The overall look of the game is bright and cheery, with a cute little bear who traipses from floe to floe and pads around the floe with a bounce in his step. The moveable blocks are colorful, while barriers and stationary blocks are white as the snow from which they are made. Buttons line the screen top for retry, skip, undo, and menu, while the current level, current slide total, and target slide total are indicated in the center of these buttons. The blue background gives the game a cool feel, perfect for its wintery, cold-weather theme. Blocks snap into place with a distinctive thwack, while bird calls and watery sounds can be heard in the background. Cute sound effects also accompany level completion and the trek to the next floe, while a bell-ringing tune plays over the menus. Controls are tilt-based for moving blocks, and touch-based for moving the bear. These didn’t work quite as well as expected, with blocks sometimes inadvertently sliding with only slight movements of the device and other times requiring more violent twisting to change their orientation. There were also some positions that were difficult to get the bear into without accidentally freezing nearby blocks again and again.
Replay value is ok, as earning a star on each level can offer a challenge. Crystal and GameCenter integration allows for global leaderboards and a dozen achievements, with additional support for Twitter and Facebook built into the game. The menu system was a bit confusing until we realized that we had to swipe back to the main menu, though it only works in one direction and it’s not clear which direction that is from the sub-menus. Otherwise, it’s a fantastic little puzzler with a lot of charm that should appeal to a wide range of gamers. At $1.99, it’s worth snapping up this 4.5-Dimple game for any and all puzzle fans.