Someone once suggested that you can gauge how well a game has been received by counting the number of imitators it has received, and — utilizing this rubric — it would seem that Threes! has certainly been doing rather well for itself. While many of these knockoffs have been mindlessly derivative, some of them — such as Caleb Hugo’s Circle of Fifths (our review) — have been uniquely innovative in their own right. While perhaps not as profoundly educational as Caleb’s in-depth look into music theory, YPR Software’s Blendolous (out now, free) still manages to be suitably unique and engaging.
By now you most likely already know the gist of how a Threes! clone is meant to be played, but — just in case you somehow haven’t yet tried this rapidly growing genre — I’m going to recap the basics all the same.
When Blendolous begins you’ll find yourself staring at a 4×4 grid, where two of those squares are already filled with blocks (each of which will be one of the three primary colors: Blue, Red, or Yellow). Swiping in any of the four cardinal directions will force all tiles available to move in that direction to slide forward as far as possible (basically, all tiles in the relevant column/row will generally move so long as it isn’t 100% full). Whenever this causes two primary colors to collide — so long as they aren’t the exact same hue — they’ll combine into a secondary colored box (such as Purple, Green, or Orange), which is important since a new primary colored square is added after each turn.
Furthermore, you can combine any secondary colored square with the primary color not used in that specific secondary color’s creation (such as Yellow with Purple, Blue with Orange, or Red with Green). This will result in the creation of a Black square with the number one written on it, and all Black squares – regardless of their number – may also be freely combined at any given moment (with their displayed numbers being added up). Finally — to help people more easily realize which squares are combinable — arrows will always be shown connecting whichever squares are validly mixable, and there’s even a Color Blind friendly mode to ensure that no one is ever left out.
First of all — if it wasn’t immediately obvious — I will say right off the bat that the ease of smashing Black squares together does make it far easier to tidy-up the playing field here than in games such as Circle of Fifths. While this certainly helps to make the game more immediately accessible than Circle of Fifths was up front, I wouldn’t exactly say that playing Blendolous is an easy-mode experience to simply be written off. Although it might be readily apparent what you may attempt with the various squares littering your board, it’s another matter entirely to deal with a lethal overabundance of Orange tiles.
Although Blendolous definitely contains a requisite endless mode — wherein your primary concern is preventing the playing field from filling up — the game also contains a challenge mode, where you’re tasked with creating a Black square with a specific value. While this might initially sound nearly identical to the endless mode, let me assure you that there’s a world of difference between pursuing what will let you survive and aggressively focusing yourself upon smashing all the Black squares together at any cost. Successfully finishing a challenge will immediately open up the next one, which will then task you with constructing a Black square ten points higher than the previous Blendolous challenge (and the challenge mode can continue on like this pretty much indefinitely).
Finally — the same as Circle of Fifths before it — Blendolous is offered upfront for the super low-low price of absolutely free, with the only IAP available letting you disable the ads that pop-up ever now and then after a failed match. Should you have liked either Threes! — or any of the other games based upon it — then there’s an extremely good chance that you’ll enjoy Blendolous as well, which manages to stand up well on its own right. Here’s hoping that — as time marches forward — YPR Software will continue to bless us with additional excellent offerings on the iTunes Marketplace, seeing as how their stab at mimicking Threes! has been solidly unique.
iFanzine Verdict: Although Blendolous is indeed another clone of Threes!, the game’s focus upon primary color-mixing — despite seeming easy at first — actually manages to be a solidly challenging experience fully within its own right. Couple this with a free price tag — where the only IAP available is one that disables the occasional ad — and you have a unique app that’s worth checking out, especially for Threes! fans. That said, any whom found Threes! to be overly minimalistic — and didn’t like it as a result — probably won’t find much within Blendolous to change their mind about this particular genre either.