Game Design, Game Reviews

Fourms – The shape game that will stick around

FourmsToday it’s time to review Fourms (not to be confused with Forums), a simple puzzle game from Genio Games.

Available on Google PlayAvailable on iTunesIt is designed for iPhone and Android-powered devices, and with its simple premise, good visuals and various difficulty stages, this one will stick around on your mobile device for quite some time.

The first thing I noticed when I began the game was the colour scheme: mild, soothing colours of the background are split in half by the bright, showy colour of the shape in the middle. This animated welcome screen offers six buttons: the No Ads button at the very top of the screen, the Play button in the centre (which is the bright, showy object), and four other buttons at the bottom (Info, Favourite, Music, and Highscore), resembling the Android OS.

Info will show credits, Favourite will send you away to rate the game (rate it five stars!), Music is a simple on/off toggle, and Highscore prompts the Leaderboards table.

The shape wars

Remember when you were in kindergarten and the teacher gave you different shapes, and a box with holes in them, where you had to match the shapes with the fitting holes? Remember how you never seemed to get it right, no matter how hard you tried?

Well, it’s payback time, because that’s exactly what you will be doing in Fourms. Under a lot more pressure, though.

jeff

Everybody meet Jeff. Jeff, meet everybody.

The game is a vertical scroller that requires fast thinking and even faster reflexes. You are presented with one of four different shapes: the cube, the sphere, the pyramid and a shape I have no clue what to name. We will call that one Jeff just because.

This shape stays fixed in the middle of the screen, while the rest of the stage moves upwards. Every second or so, a tile will appear, covering the entire screen. It has a hole in the middle with one of the four shapes I described earlier. If your shape doesn’t match the hole, you’re busted.

You can shuffle between the four shapes by tapping the left or right hand side of your phone. Tapping once brings up the next shape. The goal of the game is to make sure your shape always matches the hole in the tile.

The game is simple enough, but still entertaining to keep your attention for longer than what’s usual nowadays. For me, that makes the game a success. But where the real challenge lies is in the harder versions of the game.

Fourms has a total of three different modes: Classic, Master and Legend. Classic is the basic mode and it’s fairly simple. The previous (left side button) and the next (right side button) shapes are presented under the buttons, so you know where to press to get the required shape.

Colour-coding madness

The shapes are also presented in different colours, so for example the cube is red, while the sphere is green. The approaching tiles are also colour-coded in the same way, so when playing the Classic mode, all you need to do is match the colours and your shape is through.

However, going for the Master and the Legend modes is where the real challenge lies. Master mode shuffles the shapes and colours, meaning you can no longer rely on colour to pass the tile. But you still have the previous and next buttons with the appropriate shapes. In Legend mode, you lose even that. You only have a split second to see which shape you need, and tap a couple of times until you find it. This mode is truly the work of an evil mastermind.

The game itself is free to play and the developers earn their pay through in-game advertising. The game offers two ad placements, one in the bottom of the screen which is always present, and the other one takes over the entire screen, but only after you’ve busted. The ads are well placed and I don’t find them annoying as ads usually can be.

The game also offers the option to remove all ads for the price of $0.99, which is a fair bargain in my opinion, especially if you enjoyed the game long enough to keep it on your phone.

The leaderboard system pits you against other players worldwide, as well as your friends, to see who can last the longest in this simple, but nerve-wrecking game.

Well-built

In conclusion, I think the game is a complete, solid product. It’s simple, well-built for mobile devices, with good colour contrast, nice music and an entertaining game design.

It’s one of those ideal games while you’re waiting for the bus or in a line to pay your bills.

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