iPhone App Review: The Ring

iPhone App Review: The Ring

August 4th, 2012 by

Fans of frantic, frenetic, Tetris-style gameplay may have a lot to like in the new game from developer Arc0baleno, The Ring. It’s sort of a throwback to old arcade games, though it doesn’t directly resemble any of them more than the obvious comparison, Tetris. It’s a fast-paced, fast-action strategic game that features all of the same fun and frustration of classic puzzle action games, but with a twist that makes it different than probably almost anything you’ve played before.

How It Works

Your block is in the middle of a spinning ring, and your job is to release blocks into the ring, filling it to the required percentage in order to move onto the next level. The difficulty ramps up as the levels increase, through both oddly-shaped blocks and higher percentages to fill the ring. You can rotate the blocks before releasing them in order to achieve a better fit, and each block has a “weight” that enables it to settle into place to some extent by shoving other blocks out of the way. If you fill up the area too much around your block’s “launch point”, then your block can’t launch and you lose the game.

Pros and Cons

The Ring has a lot going for it, including good graphics and a lot of attention paid to sound and music. The controls are very fast and responsive, never causing you to miss an opening due to a dropped frame or other error. Along those lines, the control buttons are suitable large, making gameplay with fat fingers easy and intuitive. Even little touches like the large upward-pointing arrow that indicates in which direction your block will launch, are nice features.

The physics-based nature of the play is nice, making it so that you don’t have to exactly fit a block in place in order to get it out of the way. You can shoot a solid square straight up into a pile of other loosely-assembled blocks, and its inertia will cause it to settle into the pile on its own to some extent. It’s an interesting twist on the standard “brick dropping” gameplay mechanic, and a necessary one since you’re trying to place bricks in a giant ring rather than a perfect box.

The only issue I had with the game had to do with an intangible feeling I got while watching the levels progress: it just looks and feels like you’re dropping blocks into a giant junk-heap. That’s the nature of the gameplay when you’re placing square bricks in a circular enclosure, but it means that the game lacks the polish and order of a more typical brick-dropping game.

Overall

The Ring is a fun, frantic game of fast fingers and strategy that features lots of gameplay and content for its low price of $0.99. Each level you clear even unlocks a unique wallpaper that you can access from the results screen. It’s a nice twist on a classic game that should keep you playing for hours. It’s a universal app available now for $0.99.

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