Aqua Globs

Aqua Globs

What we liked:

+ Clean design
+ Addictive in it simplicity
+ Three speed options
+ Leader boards and goals

What we didn't like:

- Browser-based leader board
- Wonky glitches

DEVELOPER: Qwiboo   |   PUBLISHER: Qwiboo   |   RELEASE: 07/25/2009
The first hit is $0.99.

A new path drawing game, Aqua Globs is addictive in its simplicity. It does make use of the simple line drawing mechanic and color matching gameplay found in other apps – it is not, however, Flight Control, and is perhaps even more casual. Gameplay wise, you spend less time strategically re-routing objects on screen than simply getting them to collide. It is a matching game on the move, and the simple goal is to score big before losing all your lives.

A quick run through the tutorial covers all the nuances of gameplay: join globs of like size and color together. Blue and orange globs are un-mixy, but the green globs will mesh with a glob of any color or size for two points rather than one. Connecting two tiny globs creates an ultra glob, all plumped up and with a couple extra legs. Combining two ultra globs clears them off the screen, presumably having caused a genetic anomaly resulting in a breakdown to their watery origins.

Aqua Globs is a game of threes. There are three types of globs, three lives and three speeds. The standard speed is downright sluggish, but undoubtedly makes the game more accessible for in experienced players. However, if my scores are any indication it may well be easier to play in double speed than in the standard speed. When things are moving more quickly it is easier to make deft matches and clear the screen, the slower speed encourages too much waffling. Triple speed, however, will make the decidedly casual game more hardcore fare. One very nice detail about the speeds is that both pausing the game (which saves your progress) and losing a life will automatically reduce the speed to standard.

Stats are extensive and track your world rank, highest score, most recent score, average score, total time played, total globs and even the most globs on screen. There are also twelve “Goals”, or little rewards for collecting lots of points, playing for a cumulative amount of time, and playing up to 2, 10, 50 and 200 games. You can sync your stats within the game to see your rank and achievements, or exit to the browser to view all the stats and see how much you need to catch up. The browser view displays all players’ stats, with a detailed view option, as well as their Goals. It’s one thing to know you’re ranked second, but how distant a second? The stats are so in-depth it stinks that you have to exit the app to see how you stack up against the competition.

The artwork is clean, simple and charming. It’s always a happy sight when developers achieve this sort of beautiful self-restraint. Bright, cheerful, and certainly a game that could be enjoyed by a broad age demographic. Continuing the theme of threes, you can mute the game sounds, play both music and sounds, or opt for sounds only and keep your iPod music on in the background. Aqua Glob’s single track is calm as the watery deep; definitely level-appropriate. The watery squelches are fun, and I like the desperate squeaks of blue and orange globs nearing collision.

Unfortunately, I did experience some downright wonky glitches. Most grievous was beginning a game only to have it appear to be running at triple speed, with 20+ globs already onscreen and simultaneously colliding. This death cycle repeated itself until relaunching the app. Another seemed to make it impossible to direct the globs following the first loss of life. However, word from Qwiboo is that an update is in process that will fix the glitches that snuck through testing, and even bring a new level, mechanics and globs. Additionally, the devs aim to have a regular update every few weeks, also promising more levels and globs, and this is the sort of thing that can keep a tidily addictive app fresher than daisies. These updates will address some basic concerns, among them that a couple of globs can get, well, boring, even if they’re attacking in full force.

Good looking and well-scaled, Aqua Globs is all too easy to pick up and play and at ninety-nine cents, the price is right for a pleasantly addictive – if uncomplicated – time waster. The epitome of a habit-forming casual game, Aqua Globs is a cheery addition to the line-drawing genre.

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