When I first saw Gelex I yawned, "Ho hum, another Tetris-style, match three game." But then I actually played it. Turns out the game was made by a 78 year old grandmother from the Czech Republic. THEN I got impressed.
In Gelex, you guide I or L shaped collections of 3 blocks to the bottom of the well, rotating them as they fall - all pretty standard Tetris stuff. When three or more blocks of the same color are touching sides, they dissolve - again, totally standard for the Match 3 genre.
This game gets its unique flavorful feel from the Flubberesque physics the blocks take on. Blocks don't sit still at the bottom of the well - the dropping blocks bounce and toss around the other blocks.
As soon as three similar colored blocks touch sides, they are primed for dissolution. Even if they bounce apart, they will still disappear within seconds. This bouncing will also trigger blocks they touch of the same color - making the big chains.
Sounds fun right? Well there's a downside. If any blocks have bounced above the game end line when the newest block enters, the game is over. Notice the screenshot directly to the right, I lost that game on the 3rd or 4th brick with a score 0 by bouncing a set of blocks then holding them up above the game end line. BTW... losing that badly is an achievement... awesome, huh?
Gelex has a ton of achievements to accomplish. Some of them feel nearly impossible (destroy 20 bricks in one turn? Nice!). And it allows you to post your achievements to your FaceBook page.
Not an actual feature of the game, but Marie has her own blog,
Gelex has fun, cartoony graphics. The brick's faces give great commentary on how they are being treated: angry, scared, elated, etc.
The bouncing physics of the gel blocks make precision placement difficult and creates the special atmosphere of the game.
The pause button is tiny, hiding up in the right-hand corner and is a bit hard to hit.
Plus+ or OpenFeint integration would be nice...being able to post to FaceBook is okay, but the other scoring/achievement systems are becoming the defacto standard for all games.
Gelex is not just a fun match 3 game - it is an adventure in basic programming. Through Marie's blog at grannycoder.com
, you can see her development process. though not the best game in the App Store, it is definitely impressive that it was programmed by a septuagenerian in under four months (all while still taking care of her goat).