Cheap Shot: Sega Columns Deluxe

Tetris is a universal game– universal in that everyone knows about it, a great deal have played it, and almost every clone that could be made of it has already been made. Sega’s Columns Deluxe adds two more clones, only one of which really has any merit, and neither are really worth your time and money.

Now, we should mention that Columns on the iPhone is an old game, almost as old as the App Store itself (happy first birthday little guy!). It was free over the 4th of July weekend, and now it’s still in Cheap Shot range at $1.99. But you still might want to think twice about downloading it.

The first of Columns Deluxe’s two games is Columns itself, in which vertical stacks of three blocks make their descent on the screen. You can rotate the blocks within the vertical stack, but the stack can’t flip over horizontally like in Tetris. You guide these columns down either by tapping on the screen or by using the accelerometer, which comes without calibration. Exciting! Actually, no, but there are special magic blocks that appear now and again to get your blood flowing.

Vertical game, horizontal screen.

The second Tetris clone is called Puyo Pop, and it’s the one that comes with more merit, if only because it’s cuter. Here, instead of those old-fashioned blocks, you guide amorphous globs of gobbledygook, each with a pair of eyes and no other anatomical features. Full rotation is available, and as you may have guessed, like-colored blobs stick together. And while their expressions imply some discomfort with this, all you have to do is connect four or more to make those expressions pop and vanish. Voila, another game!

Everyone squeeze in a little more, please.

Both have two modes, one in which you tackle the computer, and another in which you tackle… your spare time, in order to rack up high scores. However, without online leaderboards, we were left disappointed.

Editor’s Note: Cheap Shot is a new review feature where we pick a game that costs $.99 or $1.99 and give it the quick review treatment. While you won’t find a 1-4 score or our usual pros and cons, you will get a direct assessment of the game based on a one-hour playthrough. You’ll still find our full-length, regular reviews for other games.

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