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Stoneloops! of Jurassica

Quite frankly, you don’t even need to read through my review of Stoneloops! of Jurassica from PlayCreek LLC…just buy it, download, start playing and thank me later when you finally tear yourself away from it.  The concept of a must-have game for the iDevice is always arguable but straight away when you start playing Stoneloops things just start to click in your mind until you reach that AHH moment and realize that this is what defines a must-have game.  If you’ve never heard of SoJ, it’s a ‘marble pop’ game and if you’ve never heard of that, it’s related to ‘match 3′ games and if you’ve never heard of that well, you need to get busy.  The gist of marble pop games is a stream of colored marbles makes its way around a closed path and you have a stationary launcher that you can rotate around and launch colored marbles at the stream.  Make a match of at least 3 of the same color and they ‘pop’, potentially creating more matches for combos, you rack up points and so on until you clear the level and advance.  Most folks credit Zuma as the first big marble pop game on the iDevice then Blackbeard’s Assault probably a close second.  Well, SoJ bests them both and absolutely sets the gold standard for this category in the app store.  If I have this right, SoJ is originally credited to Codeminion who actually contracted out the majority of the game creation to 3rd party developers Farm51 and the iDevice version was made by yet a 3rd (3rd 3rd?) party we know as PlayCreek.

Anyway, SoJ takes the basic game mechanic above and gives it a tweak so no longer are you rotating a stationary launcher but instead sliding it horizontally across the bottom of the screen, always firing marbles err…stones directly upwards.  It works well and is implemented perfectly; you even get 3 options for control: drag, d-buttons or tilt (drag is best).  A quick word about the production values of this game: professional.  The themed graphics, sound and music are fantastic, the UI thoughtful and responsive and the loading time super-fast.  There’s no story per se but generally the game has you following a course through the Jurassic period, building houses as you go (yes that’s kinda strange but more on that later).  You can play the game 2 ways, classic and grab’n’shoot.  In classic your next shot is based on whatever marble color the game gives you but in grab’n’shoot you literally pluck a marble from the stream and fire it back in.  It’s a great mode and fun its own right but I definitely prefer classic.  Here’s the rundown on the core features of the game:

  • 75 handcrafted levels
  • 2 different game modes
  • 24 trophies to unlock
  • Own a house in 5 different lands
  • 9 smashtastic powerups
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    Also, from time to time a bonus level will come up in which you can earn free powerups by knocking down stones after making a match.  This is nothing special but it serves to break up any monotony that might set in and it serves that purpose well.  So about these houses.  Every set of  levels is themed (desert, glacier, swamp, volcano etc) and the ‘goal’ if you will is to build and upgrade a house.  No explanation given, no obvious purpose just…houses.  This happens automatically as you play and is completely non-interactive; just eye candy.  Strange for sure but like the bonus levels, a nice change of pace that you come to appreciate in that ‘what’s next’ way .  The thing that definitely has me scratching my head though is in 1 case one of the house upgrades appears to be a modern swimming pool and chaise lounge chairs; quite out of place in Jurassic Earth!  Minor thing though and certainly no detriment to the gameplay.
     
    So there you have it.  I really can’t say enough good things about this game and I’ve probably said enough already.  This is primo game design executed beautifully and to perfection on the iPhone.  I can’t even think of a decent gripe and that to me is almost absurd!
     
    Stoneloops! of Jurassica debuted at 99 cents but is expected to go up.  Honestly this game is worth more so at this price it truly is a no-brainer; add this to your gaming library asap.
     
    Quick edit – there’s now a lite version you can try as well!
     

    version reviewed – 1.0
    reviewed on – iPhone 3G 8GB 2.21
    iTunes music support – yes

     







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