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Polymer's about as basic a puzzler as they come, requiring players to slide tiles into place to assemble large, amorphous shapes. The larger the shape, the more points are rewarded. Simple, right? But there's a catch: entire columns need to be shifted around, making a game of Polymer more like futzing with a Rubik’s Cube than simply swapping tiles.
It could have made for a Zen-like experience if not for the fact that the game’s most alluring modes are set to timers. The default setting is a two-minute score grind, which serves as a good training ground for the two other scored modes: a "make the biggest shape possible" game type, and an even more nail-biting "bomb mode," which replaces some of the shapes with four-sided bombs that detonate after their timer runs out. These modes can be unlocked by achieving certain benchmarks in the game, or you can simply purchase them outright to speed up the process.
While Polymer is an enjoyable experience as it is, the lack of an untimed and scored game mode seems like a missed opportunity. Fighting the clock doesn't allow that much time to enjoy the mechanics, whereas simply making a giant shape just isn't all that fun. And while the newly-added endless game mode lets you play and play to your heart's content, the lack of scoring or any sort of objective makes it feel a bit pointless. With some minor tweaks, Polymer could end up being one of the best puzzle games on iOS, but as of now it’s just missing something.
The bottom line. Polymer is a great concept, but the app is just a few tweaks shy of being essential.
iPhone or iPod touch running iOS 4.2 or later
Unique puzzle concept that is easy to learn.
Timed modes leave little time to savor mechanics, while the endless mode needs a revamp.