Fractal : Make Blooms Not War ($0.99) by Cipher Prime Studios is a music inspired puzzle game for the iPad that creates beautiful songs as the action unfolds. Create blooms to the rhythm for a truly harmonious experience. It is on sale for free for a limited time.
The first level starts with a grid of hexagons. Some are highlighted in blue. Players tap on a hexagon that is not highlighted, this causes new blue shapes to appear on the grid, pushing the existing shapes in one direction or another. When the blue shapes line up as a “bloom,” or a cluster of seven hexagons, they disappear from the grid, making room for new ones.
In campaign mode, the goal of the game is to create blooms and earn points with only a limited amount of turns, called “pushes.” Once the point goal is reached, the level is complete. The levels get harder as additional colors are added to the grid. Blue hexagons must match in color, as must red, orange and any other colors.
The fascinating part of this game is the way music is incorporated into it. As soon as the level starts, ambient sound can be heard. As blooms are created, the music starts to kick in and becomes an unstructured song, existing only through the player’s actions. Each time tiles are pushed, there is a chime sound. Each time a bloom is created, the music intensifies. If combinations of blooms are created at the same time, the rhythm increases. Once the player gets down to only five pushes left, the music slows down.
There are three different ways to play, campaign mode, arcade mode, and puzzle mode. Arcade mode is a great way for players to hone their puzzle solving skills. Players can choose which style of gameplay they prefer: speed, agility or confidence. Puzzle mode gives players the opportunity to solve very specific bloom puzzles. For example, one goal may be to create a three-bloom cluster in five moves or less.
The only thing wrong with this game is the lack of a tutorial. Players are just thrown into the mix with no explanation. It adds to the creative nature of the game to not know what you are doing, but doesn’t make for good puzzle solving. Play puzzle mode first to get the hang of things, understand how blooms are created and what movements cause which reactions.
This is a beautiful and unique game that is engaging and inspiring. Players looking for an interesting way to scratch their puzzle loving itch will really enjoy Fractal. It is a bargain at $0.99.