In the age of touch controls, there’s no longer such a thing as a one-armed bandit. Yessiree, for the price of a ripe tomato you can switch on your iDevice and have as much fun at the slots as you like without being robbed blind — although Inception IQ is banking on your willingness to do so when the jackpot is replaced with leaderboard bragging rights. Their App Store debut, Minicons (Out Now for $0.99), wraps casino-style slot machine action and swipe controls into a nice, neat package that should do well with casual players on the lookout for a bite-size gaming snack.
Playing a bit like a mashup of Match-3 and slots, Minicons has the player swiping over identical adjacent (or diagonally adjacent) icons once spinning reels have mixed them up. Unlike your typical Match-3 title, Minicons provides ample opportunity for the keen-eyed and swift-fingered player to wipe out impressively long chains. This is certainly true of the higher difficulty levels, which pack more icons onscreen at any given moment. Game Center and OpenFeint-integrated scoreboards measure the player’s matching prowess once the timer’s up.
The game’s various “themes” seem to be window dressing to keep things from becoming visually monotonous as far as I can tell, so Minicons ends up quite thin content-wise. It stands out for its incredibly smooth execution, my single critique being that re-spins should be automatic on occasions where no matching is possible — something the best Match-3 titles have implemented handily already. Granted, the issue is unnoticeable except on Easy mode, which lets the newcomer practice with a single row of icons.
Minicons‘ clean presentation is rounded out by music courtesy of – guess who! – Kevin MacLeod, who lends an ensemble of circus-y and action themes this time around. Minicons appears unfriendly to external music, but MacLeod tracks usually make this a moot point anyway. I did experience occasional and inexplicable volume fluctuations in-game though.
iFanzine Verdict: Whether you’ll go for Minicons depends entirely on whether you’re a huge fan of matching games, as there’s not much else to see here; even within the genre it’s quite lightweight. It does stand out for its fun presentation, smooth execution, and the fact that it puts a real “spin” (pun absolutely intended) on the typical matching formula we’ve seen on iOS.