Expand It!, a clever puzzler from FDG Entertainment, is now available from the app store. With a simple control mechanic, enjoyable puzzle design, and sickly-sweet characters and visuals, Expand It! is poised to make a big splash with gamers of all ages.
Expand It! Pros:
- Bubbly, colorful environments with a variety of puzzling elements to utilize
- Soundtrack fits the gameplay style well
- Tap controls are simple and responsive
- GameCenter integration provides global leaderboards and achievements
Expand It! Cons:
- Ultra-cute presentation may turn off older gamers
- Wind-down mechanic for determining level scores and stars doesn’t allow for “perfect” completions
Expand It! contains 60 levels, with the goal of getting any of the characters to breach the rainbow line for a short but sustained period of time. Speed is also a major factor in racking up the best point totals and earning 3 stars per level, requiring a quick mind and faster fingers. Each character has the ability to expand its body up to 5 times, once per tap. The order and timing of the taps is crucial, as tapping too early can prevent a character from fitting through small spaces or even cause them harm via sharp spikes incorporated in many levels. Similarly, tapping too late could cause you to miss connecting with level elements or leave you unable to achieve your goal. Expanding certain characters can allow you to form ramps with wooden planks or fill holes that would otherwise halt the progress of other level elements. The solutions are often simple and elegant, though they aren’t always easy to discern right away. Some trial-and-error is required, and there is more than one way to complete a level.
Graphically, Expand It!! is very colorful and cheery, with smiling characters and a cartoonish atmosphere. Some levels require you to tap on blocks to make them disappear and allow characters to begin rolling down a ramp or free a self-powered vehicle to move across the board. Tapping on characters can also get things moving. Each level seems to throw something new at you and allows you to figure out how to reach the rainbow without telling you what to do, which is quite refreshing. The soundtrack has a great woodwind vibe, adding to the laid back and fun atmosphere. Tapping is the only control mechanic used, and it works very well, even with moving objects. Restarting is easily accessed from a tiny button in the upper right corner or by tapping the screen when all characters are lost.
Replay value is somewhat limited, save for trying to earn any missed stars or attempting to squeeze another few points out of a level. Otherwise, there isn’t much reason to return unless the game is updated with additional levels, which is a future likelihood. GameCenter integration brings global leaderboards and achievements into the mix, though most are awarded for simply playing through the game. A handful requires you to best a specific score on a certain level, which may pose a challenge. For $0.99, Expand It! is a solid 4-Dimple offering.
Expand It! Review,