Juice It ($0.99) by NEXTWELL is a game that combines the mechanics of Bejeweled and Tetris with lots of juicy fruits.
If you are bored with the plethora of match-three games out there, then Juice It could be what you need. At its core, it is a match-three game where you must line up at least three or more fruits, either vertically or horizontally. However, the nice twist to it that separates it from other puzzle games of the same genre is that the fruit comes in various shaped blocks, which you must rotate and put in place to match them and eliminate them from the screen (Tetris).
The first thing that caught my attention about the game though were the gorgeous graphics. Those with Retina display devices will be happy to know that the game has full high-resolution graphics. The sounds are entertaining when you make a match (similar to Fruit Ninja), and the music is kind of techno, which I found a bit odd for the game.
The controls are fairly simple. As blocks of fruit fall down, you swipe on the screen to move it left or right. Tapping on the fruit will rotate the block, and you can drag the block down (rather than wait for it to fall) to get more points. You can swap adjacent fruits to make matches too. As you play, you will encounter two different types of fruit blocks: a crate and ice.
Crate blocks have fruits inside, but you cannot see what it holds, nor can you rotate it. So it’s a huge gamble and can really screw you up. Ice blocks allow you to see the fruit inside, but you cannot rotate them.
There is one power up, though, which is obtained every 5,000 points. In the top corner, you will see a rolling dice of fruit. Tapping on this dice will eliminate all fruits of the kind that is specified on the dice. You will see how many dice rolls you have with a number count on it.
There is one main gameplay mode, and four mini games. The main mode is Classic, and the mini games are: Mirror, Ice, Box, and Frenzy. Classic is pretty self-explanatory (if you’ve played Tetris before, then you should know how it goes). Mirror is tricky, because all of your movements are reversed (up is down, down is up, left is right, right is left). Ice will only have ice blocks, as well as Box. These are incredibly challenging and will probably frustrate you more than anything. Frenzy is like Classic, except for the fact that all of the fruits are falling extremely fast.
The goal in each mode is to get as many points as you can, and to also fill up as many pots as you can with fruit juice (you will see how many fruits you eliminated at the end of each game).
For those that like to compete with friends, there is Game Center integration for leaderboards, however, there are no achievements in the game. Perhaps some achievements can be added in the future to give players more incentive to keep playing (I also love achievements for the points in Game Center).
I found this to be a very solid puzzle game. However, a few things need work. My biggest gripe was the fact that sometimes, while I tried to move a piece, the game would register that as a tap instead, so it would rotate the piece rather than move it. This was frustrating, especially later in the game, when every move counts. I also had some trouble with swapping neighboring fruits. While the controls are pretty solid for a first release, the developer could tweak some of the controls to make the experience smoother.
However, if you’re looking for a different puzzle experience, then I would highly recommend Juice It. It combines two of the best puzzle game mechanics and comes out with a completely unique product. It’s currently $0.99 and universal, so puzzle fans would surely get a kick out of this one.