Slydris, a part-Tetris, part-block sliding puzzler from Radiangames, is now available from the app store. A departure for the dev team, Slydris is a relaxing yet challenging experience that appeals to a much wider audience than previous dual-stick releases.
- Great neon visuals with clean backdrops and pleasing color combinations
- Relaxing soundtrack options that kept us bobbing our heads
- Drag-and-release controls are responsive; glowing column helps to avoid misdrops
- Multiple game modes, specialized blocks, and row-clearing bombs keep things exciting
- GameCenter integration for leaderboards and over a dozen achievements to earn
- Effects of special blocks not clearly explained
Slydris offers three game modes: Infinite, Zen, and Survival. All feature the same general mechanics with only minor differences. You are presented with a grid upon which various linearly-shaped blocks appear. There are no “L-shapes” or “2x2 squares” to deal with, but simply single blocks and blocks that stretch 2, 3, or 4 cells wide. Blocks cannot be rotated, either, and they come in 2 distinctive colors. The goal, as you might expect, is to create unbroken lines of blocks that extend from one side of the screen to the other. When such an event occurs, the line disappears and unsupported blocks fall from above to fill in the gaps, which can create combos for big point scores. You bring about this event by selecting one block from the grouping and sliding it horizontally to fill in a gap below or to allow blocks from above to fall down. In Infinite and Zen mode, each time you move a block in the gaming area, a new set of blocks will fall from the screen top into the block mass until the blocks reach the screen top and end your run. Instead of moving a block in the mass, you can alternatively shift a block from the waiting set at the screen top before they fall into the fray.
Forming a full line of a single color of blocks adds a bonus, and there are a number of specialized blocks that are thrown into the mix, including blocks that cannot be moved (you must destroy them as part of a full line), blocks that can hover without dropping, blocks that split longer blocks into individual squares to create a combo-making cascade, and many more. Occasionally, blocks will even push up from the screen bottom, creating a surprising opportunity to make combos and wipe out pesky lines. Cleared lines will fill a bomb gauge that allows you to take out a few troublesome lines once it fills completely. These two modes are untimed (Zen removes achievements and is touted as having no losing scenario), giving you plenty of time to plan your move or set up combo situations to pay off later. Survival mode gives you a 10-second timer to make as many moves as possible before a few groups of blocks will be introduced from the screen top and the time restarts. It’s definitely more frantic, which increases the challenge greatly.
Graphically, Slydris utilizes a great neon look that pops against the black backdrop. You can also choose a white backdrop or have the backdrop alternate between both options, if you prefer. Moving up in levels will change the block colors, offering a series of schemes that keep things looking fresh. Dragging a block will create a glowing column that shows the current positioning of the block, making it difficult to misplace a piece. Your level number, current score, and number of lines cleared appear along the screen’s left side, while the bomb meter and bomb button appear on the opposite side. The soundtrack is relaxing and dreamy, with a number of selectable tunes that will keep your head bobbing. Controls are strictly drag-and-release, and they work very well.
Replay value is awesome, as each game offers a new chance to climb the GameCenter leaderboards and continue your progress toward earning achievements. The game modes give you the option to play in a relaxed fashion or give you a more pulse-pounding experience. A $1.99 iPad-only offering (an iPhone version is on its way shortly), Slydris is an engaging 4.5-Dimple offering.