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It's becoming increasingly tough to squeeze into the tightly-packed puzzle genre in the App Store. With tons of tile-matching, piece-sliding, and color-swapping titles available in abundance -- albeit with challenge and mental stimulation often lacking -- sometimes the only puzzling thing is what is qualified as a puzzle. Enter Cubis Creatures, a game developed by the aptly named FreshGames, which has come to push staleness out of the genre and replace it with smart and satisfying gameplay.
Cubis Creatures tasks players with correcting the mistake of a wizard's poorly-performed magic trick, which has sent all of his friends into a deep slumber. To wake them from this state, players must match blocks in each creature's mouth -- which is still nicer than how most college kids are awoken by their friends after a night of partying. You'll be given four creatures to raise from slumber -- done over the course of 20 stages -- but additional ones can be added on. Add in daily tournaments and there's never a shortage of challenges.
The puzzles that keep these critters asleep take place on a checkered board, which is populated by colored blocks. To eliminate these blocks, you'll launch others into the playing field from the front or right side. Solids stop them, other blocks will slide one square, and contact with two or more that share its color will clear all touching matching pieces. Throw in things like lasers that can eliminate any piece, bombs that shake up the board, and two-toned blocks will require matching both colors before they'll be cleared, and you've got a puzzle game that requires real strategy. Because the board doesn't rotate, there are occasions where blocks aren't visible; but it's luckily never debilitating.
The bottom line. Cubis Creatures takes on the difficult puzzle genre and comes up with highly stellar results. With stunningly vibrant visuals, a quirky story, and lively tunes, the entire experience is just plain fun. There's nothing puzzling about why Cubis Creatures is a blast.
iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch running iOS 4.0 or later
Tons of content packed into an inexpensive package. Puzzles are quite the brain teasers. Entire vibe of the game is wacky, but amusing.
Sometimes difficult to see the entire field of play.