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Playing to the powerful pull of both puzzle solving and card playing, Chip Chain mashes up match-three puzzles with poker aesthetics in an inventive way that's highly addictive, yet accessible to folks who have no clue what a royal flush is. While the gameplay itself has very little to do with the actual game of poker, it scratches a different kind of itch that carves out common ground between card sharks and casual players alike.
Chip Chain relies on simple rules to suck you in before building out on the core gameplay with several different modes and tons of unlockable extras. You start by strategically plunking down numbered and color-coded poker chips inside a grid, but for every chip you place, your computerized opponent places a random one on the board to trip you up. The aim is to match three or more of the same adjacent chip type to form combos and clear the board, and the more chips you can weave together, the higher your score. Created chains leave one single chip behind and increase its number value, and by progressively building off these leftovers to create more chains, you rack up huge scores and earn gems to unlock goodies.
Making matches also earns you special cards that you can put into play to increase or decrease the number of a chip, move chips around, boost the experience you earn from each game, and other perks that add greater depth to the strong foundation. Earning gems is the main thrust that drives repeated play, since amassing them lets you unlock extra cards, gameplay modes, and other content. Until you earn enough to access every mode and goody permanently, available modes cycle randomly each day, which is a fun, funky way to keep things fresh.
The bottom line. Chip Chain possesses that intangible "just-one-more-game" quality that makes its easy-to-grasp puzzle fun hard to put down.
iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad running iOS 4.3 or later
Simple-to-grasp gameplay. Addictive, dynamic modes. Fun twist on familiar conventions. Lots of unlockable content.
Different modes feel a bit similar.