Thursday, April 10, 2014

Drag the Dots (Game Review)

The amount and variation of games I find in the marketplace continues to amaze me and encourage me to keep doing game reviews for Firefox OS! Things are about to get interesting with the advent of the Firefox OS tablet. I will be getting one soon and I'm getting eager to start learning how to make a game that can be played well on all sizes of Firefox OS devices from tiny ZTE Open to the big 10.1 inch, 1280 x 800 pixels sized tablet! Maybe someday there will even be a Firefox OS watch!

Anyway, today's game is called Drag the Dots and is lovingly crafted by Anders Fisher (@atleastimtrying on Twitter). This game looks pretty simple at first, but quickly becomes difficult enough to play and involves both logic and quick thinking. And it looks pretty, also!

When you start the game, you see a menu of different dot patterns.


By the way, this is a screenshot on my ZTE Open and is captured using the wonderful App Manager. Without that, my fingers would be sore from pushing the Power and Home buttons simultaneously (and missing a few times). This menu actually scrolls down to provide more choices:


The Help for this game is in the options screen but you won't need it. The game is very intuitive. So let's start with the first game at the very top, called grid.


Here's what grid looks like.



All you have to do is drag the dots on top of each other. Drag the "1" dot on top of the other "1" dot. Very nice. But do it quickly because the clock is ticking!


Once the first "1" covers the second "1", it changes to a "2" and the screen and dots change color. I really like this because it keeps the game cool to look at and even adds a bit of magical misdirections so the game isn't too easy.

Now you must drag one "2" on top of the other "2".


The "2" dots are gone but now there are two "3" dots. And again, the colors have changed!

After a few more drags, there's only two dots left.


Cover one with the other and the round is over!


By the way, my user name is "box" because I hit the "x" button instead of "b" so I don't even know how to spell my own name! And the time is very long because I was taking screenshots. This would be cool if that's all you got. But there's more!

You can play more kinds of dot dragging. How about Grid+? Instead of 9 dots, you get 16.


Same rules, but more dots to confuse your eye.


If that's not enough, how about Tiny? Little dots!


Here's what the tiny dots look like:


You might notice one of the few errors above. The tiny grid of dots is overlapped by the semi-transparent "quit" button and the time display. Even if I remove the little Firefox globe at the bottom, the grid is overlapping. I wonder how this would look on my Geekphone Peak, which on loan at the moment. I'll check and add a note later. Responsive web design!

You've seen grids, now it's time for random layouts.


Ten dots. Here they are:


This introduces a new issue. Overlapping dots. You can see the two "1" dots but there is a "9" dot you can't quite see under the "10" dot. But you can quickly figure things out and move dots around to find the one you need.

Next on the list are moving dots!


Twelve dots. But after each match, the dots move around! Here are the twelve.


But after you match the first two "1" dots, the layout changes:


How cool is that? But the complexity keeps changing. The next game will really tax your brain. The dots are in a circle and each dot is spinning.


Here's the dots in a circle:


And here they are again, a short time later. Eleven seconds later, to be exact!


Drag the dots and finish the round. Next comes the maze!


This time you have to avoid the walls of the maze and every time you make a match, the walls slightly move.


Here's a shot of how the maze looks with only one match to go.


Just when you thought it couldn't get crazier, along comes the next game, Moving+.


Hey, these dots are moving!


And they keep moving!


And even after you've cleared a few, they're still moving.


Until only two are left!


Any time you want to quit a game, just tap quit or menu and you'll go to the game menu, which scrolls down to display scores for each individual game. You can see my three scores for Grid.


An options screen is offered as well, near the bottom of the main opening screen.


You can choose whether to display a background color different from the dot color, whether to display the numbers or not! or put everything in grayscale if you don't like colors.

You can also get a short tutorial on how to play.


For some reason the how to play is always in that gray on gray color scheme, which is hard to read. But you don't need it anyway. Next you are told:


Well, at least the dot is in color. I can't stand anything not in color!


Two dots. There can only be one. Except that you never see one dot. The minute the penultimate dot covers the ultimate dot, they both disappear! Go figure....


And do it fast!

That's it! You can see your stats on how well you've done overall:

Hits and misses? I guess if I drag and don't drop exactly on the right dot, I've missed. By the way, the button to clear the scores doesn't clear the stats, but it does clear the scores which you also see when you hit menu or quit. I guess your stats live with you forever.

All in all, this is a very entertaining game with lots of cool options. In particular, the color choices are really good and I feel that they aren't random choices, but follow some kind of color theory, or at least follow a particular color palette.

And there's no sounds or music. Bummer.

But because this game is so delightful, I'm giving it a 5 out of 5. It would get a 6 if the options screens were in color and a 7 if there was sound and music. But the game is just about perfect and is the kind of quick, entertaining game that belongs on a phone, with a lot of variations on game lay.

Cost: Free
Genre: Arcade
Score: 5 (out of 5)
Tested on: ZTE Open
Get it at: Firefox Marketplace
https://marketplace.firefox.com/app/drag-the-dots