Cheap Shot: Finger Stone

Finger Stone is a modest puzzler that, when used correctly, just might help you stick to those difficult New Year’s resolutions. For instance, you could quit smoking and start taking Finger Stone breaks instead. Or you could get a job, move out of your parents’ house, and play Finger Stone in your brand new apartment.

Okay, so there’s no direct correlation between becoming a better person and playing Finger Stone. But, with its pick-up-and-play simplicity and laid back gameplay, it is an ideal app to boot up whenever you have a few minutes to kill.

The controls couldn’t be simpler. Swipe up, down, left, or right anywhere on the screen to send your block flying in that direction. The block continues moving until it’s stopped by something in the environment, like a wall or, if you weren’t looking out for your block’s best interest, a bomb. The game detects your swipes with precision, so there’s no worry of accidentally hurling it toward one of the hazards. When it slams to a stop, the whole level shudders, making your block seem positively hefty.

This block has some serious ‘tude.

The goal of all this flicking and slamming is to collect all the diamonds in each stage and then reach the exit. Bombs and spikes hamper your progress, as do labyrinthine level designs. Various block types limit your movements or help shimmy you along. The game isn’t timed, and the only stat it tracks is how many moves it takes you to complete each stage. For the competitive types, your score can be posted to OpenFeint leaderboards.

Jungle music sets the audio backdrop, but it’s unbearably repetitive. Just open the game with iTunes music playing to solve the problem. A total of 40 levels are included, but they can be completed fairly quickly and without too much difficulty.

Sure, we’d welcome another gameplay mode, and we’d love some more levels. But since it’s priced at a buck, we can’t complain too much. Just skip your daily trip to the Coke machine and spend the money on Finger Stone instead. Your New Year’s resolution will remain intact, and your fingers will thank you.

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