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Review: Sigma - A New Spin On The Match 3 Genre?

June 23, 2010


Sigma is a new take on the match three genre that was so desperate for a new spin. You control two cylindrical prisms, and tap to send blocks between the two. You can rotate each of the columns of blocks at the same time, and the blocks only transfer at the middle line.


You can go for simple matches of three or you can add on to a match building it up which will reward you with power-ups. Once a match is complete if your next match is of the same color in the five second limit you will build your combo. There are three game modes with sector mode, time attack, and versus. Sector mode is the main component of the game where you make matches to fill the top bar, and every five levels unlocks a new sector with alpha, beta, gamma, delta, etc. Once you unlock a sector theme you can begin from there, and you can use them in the other modes. Time attack mode lets you play for one, five, or ten minute intervals going for the best score you can in that time. Finally versus mode lets you play locally against an iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad.

The Good

This is truly what a puzzle game is meant to be where you are challenged every time you play, always making you think. The game isn't immediately understandable, and takes awhile to get used to spinning two separate columns and only being able to swap blocks at the center line. Once you get the hang of the multi-touch mechanic you’re just more adept at advancing through the sectors, but the challenge simply increases so you always have the same puzzled feeling. The game has absolutely tons to do from unlocking every sector in that mode to competing for online high scores in time attack mode, or playing against a friend in versus mode. Getting through all the sectors will take a long time with five levels per, and the best part is you will enjoy every puzzle along the way. The inclusion of Plus+ is nice for multiple online high score tables and achievements, and versus mode connects smoothly. Sigma is brilliantly designed with exquisite color combinations of the blocks and backgrounds. Each sector has a new color theme that are great rewards when unlocking them. Each sector also features a different deluxe soundtrack that is great to listen to. The various combos you make explode is a color flash and burst of pieces that never get old. The game controls as good as can be that it feels like second nature spinning the two columns and sending the blocks back and forth. Every aspect that could be made well, had been made well in Sigma.

The Bad

There's not much to dislike in such a well executed game. The gameplay is still match three which does get somewhat repetitive after awhile. The new escorts only introduce new color themes, and more colors for difficulty, but no new elements for variability. It's also quite challenging to fill the meter for five levels in a row under the time constraints. Multipliers are difficult to achieve with such a short window to make a new match, and multiple seconds ticking off as you wait for the match to form. That waiting period is to make a match of greater than three, and it helps in that regard, but hurts when going for a multiplier. Another problem is the game's safe system. If you exit for any reason you will need to pick up at the start of whatever sector you choose. It's quite annoying with the time it takes to get to new levels, and not being able to pick up at level four of gamma sector is frustrating to say the least.

The Verdict

Sigma is a great spin on the match three giving you a whole new experience unlike anything on the iPhone or any other platform. The game is a definite challenge every time you play, and there is so much to do to keep you playing for a long time to come. The game is wonderfully designed in every regard to give you an exceptionally built app. For the current $0.99 price tag it's an easy must buy, and one of the very best puzzle games in the App Store.

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