Put together some curved tracks, coloured gems and an aztec theme and you get the classic puzzler Zuma. If you prefer an Egyptian environment, you have Luxor. And then, there is an endless choice of iPhone clones that follow the same pattern. Hopefully, some developers try to move away from the success formula and add some of their own ideas to the mix.
Woozzle [iTunes Link] by Mugeaters is a marble puzzle game where you create colour combinations driving marbles through a tube maze. With the help of rotating platforms, you must guide the balls coming from the top of the screen to the correct container, dealing with switches, colour sprays, teleport gates and other obstacles.
The game starts with simple puzzles where you simply need to fill up containers with four marbles of the same colour, but it soon becomes more and more complex.
Using a single tap to rotate platforms and finger swipes to move balls, the most challenging thing in Woozzle is knowing what's exactly happening at any given time: your marbles will bounce back and return to the initial platform if there is no space left in the selected container. In order to finish the levels quickly and therefore, get a higher score, you'll need to keep an eye on every obstacle and platform to make sure every marble follows the allocated route and reaches its destination. This simple premise keeps you micromanaging the circuit to ensure all runs smoothly.
Unlike similar marble circuit puzzlers on the App Store, Woozzle relies on its neat appearance and a wide variety of special elements. There's nothing new about the jungle theme and the repetitive wildlife sound effects. The looks are obviously influenced by Popcap's Zuma. However, there is something nice about those wooden track that almost make me think of bamboo trunks hacked to make your life impossible. Every detail from switches, direction indicators to other special components blend in nicely with the overall design, something lacking in other games of the genre.
Although Woozzle's scores based on the time completing every puzzle, you can simply take your time and try to complete one task at the time. In this sense, it is well suited for all audiences, since its more of a logical challenge than skill. One of the main drawbacks I found is that marbles keep popping out the main tube eventually cluttering your tracks. This means that a bad start can lead to terrible consequences two minutes into the level, as there will be too many marbles to deal with.
Woozzle works as a fast-paced puzzle game with the right amount of difficulty and innovations added in every level to keep you interested. You can always go back to previous levels to improve your score, but I prefer to take my time micromanaging every route and destination. While the game is put together nicely, I can't help to notice the lack of originality with the gameplay. As far as marble puzzlers go, Woozzle is probably one of the best, but if you are a big fan of the genre, you probably have already games using the same concept such as Gudeballs and Orbium.
Mugeaters has promised an iPad native version and a level editor. Being able to create your own designs would be a very great addition that has proved to work with iPad version of games like Trucks and Skulls. I'm eagerly waiting for an upgrade that makes this game Universal or a standalone HD version. If you play some levels, Woozzle can easily suck you in, but it doesn't feel like natural three minutes mobile game. Being able to match your marbles chilling out at home with your iPad could give it another dimension and I hope to see this soon.
Only three weeks after the original submission of Woozzle for iPhone to the App Store, the small team from the Czech Republic behind Mugeaters has released an HD version of the game for everyone to enjoy on their iPads.
This is not only a scaled-up version of the game reviewed above, but also includes 60 new levels that would surely take advantage of the iPad's bigger screen. As I guessed when I first tried the game, Woozzle hugely benefits from the relaxed sofa approach you get playing on the iPad, having extra space to use both hands thanks to the multitouch support.
Lite versions are also available so there's nothing stoping you from trying this great game. With the release of an iPad specific Woozzle, now I can only wait for the great looking level editor, which could be a lot of fun if it allows players to share levels online.