Overview

Due to the flood of match-3 games into the App Store (mostly induced by the incredible success of Bejeweled), it is as difficult for developers to stand out as it is for consumers to find one they actually like. The result is often overwhelm for the buyer and a gimmicky, ‘I’m different’ approach from developers. I actually searched ‘match 3′ and ‘match three’ so that I could get a quick count of how many there are. There were too many. Each new match-3 game uses familiar elements from the last one while adding something that hopefully sets it apart and above the others.

Super Juicy HD is no exception, but adds just enough uniqueness to feel different from the rest. One thing that helped it stand out was the several weeks it spent featured in iTunes. It is a port from the iPhone version, was created by Berzerker Games and was ready at iPad’s launch.

Features

You already know how to play the game, but it will take some time to master it. Bubbles fall (usually, but not always) and order and reorder themselves as you pop groups of three or greater of a given color. Additionally, certain bubbles contain items that either help or hurt your cause. Pop a bubble with fruit (multipliers) and watch your score soar. Pop a bubble with spikes and all of the bubbles in that group inflate. Bombs destroy all bubbles of the same color on the screen and black holes destroy all nearby bubbles. Bombs and black holes are the only methods to destroy the nasty solid bubbles. Grab a clock to get a time bonus.

The chassis of Super Juicy is a match-3 game, but it isn’t all about just matching bubbles of the same color in groups of 3 or more. Some of the special powers such as black hole require six or more of the same color to work. Also note that if you have a group of, say, 3 red bubbles and one of them contains a strawberry, you have to touch the one with the strawberry to get the multiplier. If not, it will pop and you will lose it.

The gut reaction when you first experience the game play is to go crazy and use every digit you posses to pop every bubble on the screen akin to those annoying bubble wrap popping apps. This is not the correct method as doing so will only lower your hit percentage and consequently lower your score. As in other, similar games, the high score is the ultimate motivator.

There are several modes of game play including classic, action and chaos. Classic follows levels, action is for a quick game and chaos is for those who have lost their minds.

The Good
When Super Juicy was first available, it sold for $1.99. This felt like a good deal with the amount of features available but now that it is only $0.99, it should be hard to pass up. Not only are there five game modes, but multiplayer is included as well. This works great and is available via wifi or bluetooth.

One difference that really stands out is the use of a physics engine to create a different experience every time, even if you are playing the same level. The accelerometer is integrated as well so you have a surprising amount of control as to where your bubbles land. If you have a bunch of bubbles on the ground, you can tilt it back and forth to mix them up, hopefully getting more color synergy.

Just when you think you have figured all of the twists out, another one will surprise you on the next level such as ever expanding bubbles or bubbles that rise up instead of falling down.

Vibrant colors and crisp graphics mesh nicely with the fantastic soundtrack.

It is one of the best match-3 games, but I haven’t tried them all (I doubt anyone has) so I can’t promise that.

The Bad
As previously mentioned, it is a challenge for any match-3 game not to get buried by the rest. Many will feel like this is just another Bejeweled clone, though it is not. Still, as with any other similar game, it doesn’t consist of more than popping bubbles. If you haven’t liked other colorful matrix games, you may have a tough time liking this one.

Super Juicy has online scoring, but it is by AGON and not the more popular OpenFient or Game Center.

The Verdict

Many game modes, multiplayer support and physics integration all make Super Juicy a great snag for a buck, especially if you liked Bejeweled or similar titles. As a game, it is great, and as another match-3 game it stands out in a very crowded field.