Match-3 games are everywhere on the iPhone, letting you move around gems, runes, and now technicolor tribbles. Popcap Games, the company behind the insanely popular Match-3 title Bejeweled, has repeated their success by bringing a perfect port of their oddball PC and online title Chuzzle to the iPhone.
This game is filled with Chuzzles, brightly colored balls of fur with a propensity to make high-pitched noises. You must tap and drag rows of Chuzzles up, down, left, and right to make lines or clusters of three or more like-colored Chuzzles. Then, the Chuzzles explode with a giggly pop.
Unlike many other Match-3 games, Chuzzle does not allow you to move individual pieces. Instead, you are forced to drag whole rows, which constantly changes the game board and eliminates any element of strategy.
Chuzzle further distinguishes itself from other Match-3 titles by offering four fun modes: Classic, Zen, Speed, and Mindbender. In Classic mode, you simply click and drag the Chuzzles into place, forming groups and causing them to explode. Their eyeballs then fly into a bottle at the bottom of the screen. When the bottle is full of googly eyes, the board clears and you move on to the next level. It sounds a bit ghoulish, but the Chuzzles’ infectious happiness keeps it from being too unsettling. Large Chuzzles, rainbow patterned Chuzzles, and locked Chuzzles will also occasionally appear, affecting the game board and your score.
Speed and Zen modes also have you dragging around rows of Chuzzles. Speed mode has a timer that locks a Chuzzle into place each time it fills. Locked Chuzzles keep their row from moving, so you have to bring the other colors to them. In Zen mode you simply play and play, racking up a higher and higher score without leveling up.
The most interesting mode in the game is Mindbender mode. Instead of focusing on combos, players must arrange the scrambled Chuzzles into a particular configuration. The configurations start out simple, with a few moves shuffling the Chuzzles into color-coded rows and shapes. However, they get progressively harder, requiring many moves and some critical thinking. This mode really sets Chuzzle above your average Match-3 title, namely because it’s so different from the rest of the game.
Our cats would love these things.
Chuzzle is quite addictive, but it lacks depth. There is no storyline to follow or online leaderboards to post high scores to. High scores, combos, and level progression will fill your trophy room with odd-looking achievement icons, but there is no way to show others your awards. In fact, there is no way to compete with your friends at all, making this a rather solitary pursuit.
Still, Chuzzle is an offbeat game that offers a lot of enjoyment. Though you can’t compete with others, it is still fun to beat your own high scores and solve the mind-bending puzzles. We recommend it for those looking for something cute and a little different in a Match-3 title.