Cheap Shot: Piyo Blocks

Since every nook and cranny of the Match-3 genre has been thoroughly inspected tenfold, developers now try to outdo each other with either a storyline or tons of personality. Piyo Blocks takes on the latter challenge and does so with excellent execution.

Much like the vast majority of Match-3 games, you must match as least three of the same color objects in a grid by moving them into an adjacent space. However, in Piyo Blocks, any other same-color Piyos (block-shaped birds) that touch the matched pair will also disappear, earning you bonus points.

Match three piyos for a Tetris’¦ er, piyo.

Piyo Blocks includes three game modes. ‘Piyo’ is the main game in which you must match a certain number of each color in the set time in order to proceed onwards. You have three hints to use in case you get stuck. ‘Hyaku’ is basically endless mode, where you keep playing until time runs out. If you run out of moves, a new board will appear. Finally, ‘Time Attack’ also has a constantly ticking timer, but the difference is that you must get through as many rounds as possible before the clock runs out.

The aesthetic of Piyo Blocks is simple yet fantastic and full of cute personality. The vibrantly colored Piyos chirp and flutter their eyes occasionally to the funky electronic soundtrack. When time starts to run low, the entire screen shakes in a trippy fashion. We were even impressed by the menu screen, which has the block-shaped birds flapping around a hilly forest at night.

Our biggest gripe with Piyo Blocks is that there are no online high scores. For such a simple game, this is a must. After all, established services such as OpenFeint or Plus+ are free to implement.

For those who are not yet burned out from the Match-3 genre, Piyo Blocks is a polished gem for the $0.99. The lack of online leaderboards does hurt its value, however, so some may want to fly, fly away.

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