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Who doesn’t want their brain punched in the face? Puzzlejuice makes the bizarre prospect a lot more fun than it sounds by combining aspects of Tetris and Boggle into one real pressure-cooker of a puzzler. Matching colored blocks and chaining letters to quickly clear the screen as red, turquoise, and yellow hell rains down from above adds a dizzying twist to a familiar formula -- one that’s bound to titillate puzzle addicts and word nerds alike.
As each multi-colored puzzle piece slowly descends, you rotate, drag, and jockey it into position to match up larger groups of the same color blocks. Meanwhile, tapping these formations transforms them into letters, and the only way to clear the debris away is by creating words to destroy adjacent blocks. Completing special objectives earns you unlockable power-ups – like bombs, drills, and the oh-so-cool “letter nuke” – that help tremendously when the chaos crescendos. A lot is going on at any given second, but simultaneously dividing your concentration between the two very different tasks is what makes Puzzlejuice such an intense, enjoyable trip.
The slower pace and more forgiving gameplay in default “Hard” mode is good place to build your chops, but the “European Extreme Mode” is where the real thrills are at. Blocks fall faster and are tougher to clear. With less time to think about the words you're crafting and the incoming blocks, failure strikes more readily -- and ratchets up the excitement level a few notches too. Puzzlejuice plays much more comfortably on the iPad due to the larger screen real estate, but a little zoom window that pops-up window when chaining letters does help reduce butterfingers when playing on the iPhone.
The bottom line. Though it tastes best on the iPad, Puzzlejuice’s fast-paced blend of wordplay and block-based puzzling is a concoction that warrants much more than a mere sip.
iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch running iOS 3.1.3 or later
A fresh take on the puzzle matching genre. Intense, fast-paced gameplay. Tons of replay.
It’s a bit harder to play accurately on smaller iOS devices. Music wonks out for a split second every so often.