Review: Runik brings tile matching madness to Android

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I’m a big fan of puzzle games on my phone for two reasons: usually they’re quite easy to pick up, and they tend to be easy on my aging Droid’s poor processor. Accessibility is key for Android games, and puzzlers seem to be one of the few genres that can benefit from touchscreen controls.

Runik’s a great example; this new game comes to us from team SoFresh and has the distinction of being a purely Android game. I give this props because there seems to be way too many “port of an iOS” titles these days.

Runik’s simple: it throws a “match 3 or more” formula at you, which is extremely easy to pick up. Players start with a full board of runes and match until no combinations remain. The only thing shifting the tiles is the force of gravity, so it pays to think steps ahead before you break especially big chains.

Once combinations are exhausted, the leftovers turn to stone; any tiles cleared next to these stone pieces, however, become active again. If played unwisely, this can lead to a very limited playing space. Play continues until there are literally no more moves, but I haven’t reached this yet. As you clear runes of a color, meters at the bottom for each color fill. When topped up, they provide a score bonus for that color, and when activated, clear all the tiles of that type. This leads to a very strategic usage: you don’t want to waste that score bonus with few tiles on the field.

Controls are simple: click to match. Not much to say there. However, it can be a little annoying to have to wait for the gravity effect of falling blocks to finish before making your next match. The graphics are great and sound is a generic “calming puzzle music” soundtrack, but they both do their jobs extremely well; I could play a puzzler of giant pixels and a MIDI loop in the background if the gameplay is addicting and functional.

There are achievements and profiling supported through ScoreLoop, but I don’t really bother with these things. It’s enough to have to register with OpenFeint for some titles in order to stop prompts; I’m not going to sign up if it’s non-intrusive, like Runik. I’m going to give props for not shoving it down our throats, though.

Runik is free and ad-supported, so I definitely recommend it. So far, this is SoFresh’s first offering to the Android field, and I hope it won’t be their last.

Download Runik here.

Matt Demers is Droid Life’s App guy, and would love a good port to Tetris Attack, or Pokemon Puzzle League. Those games were legit.

You can find him on Twitter, or contact him through his Droid Life e-mail.



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