Explore the Puzzling Ocean Floor with Ocean Quest

Price: $.99     Score: 7/10     By A. PapachristosOcean Quest - Thumbstar Games

While your portable device should never dive into the ocean along with you, your iPhone can virtually drag you into the depths of the sea through mere game play.  With Ocean Quest by Thumbstar Games, users will dive right into the puzzling action as they match similar blocks to free the prehistoric creatures trapped at the bottom of the mysterious ocean.

Users will begin by enabling OpenFeint, which allows them to connect to the game’s achievements, high scores and leaderboards.  Just sign in with your existing account or create a new one right within the application.  The main menu simply consists of various bubbles labeled OpenFeint, Tutorial and Play, linking you to everything you need.  For first time players, I recommend beginning with the tutorial.

You, the gamer, are an ocean biologist on a quest to discover lost, prehistoric underwater species trapped in ice cubes below the sea.  The tutorial will teach you all about the status bar and what each button or number on the screen signifies.  Simply group blocks with the same color or type of animal, connecting at least four of the same blocks at a time.  Select them with the tap of your finger, and then tap again to destroy them.  Those with animals inside will then release the creatures shall float to the surface.

Ocean Quest offers both an endless Arcade mode and a 20-level Story mode, with the promise of added bonuses and levels in future updates.  However, when you first begin, it seems users have no choice but to pick the first stage and level, for it is the only unlocked option.  Once you start, you must achieve certain goals as you play in order to proceed and unlock higher levels.  The rainbow blocks certainly add one perk to game play, for they allow you to make them any color you wish.  But while they block puzzle nature of Ocean Quest resembles Tetris, Line Up and other App Store favorites, Ocean Quest has yet to corner the market on ease and simplicity with its color-matching technique, making it enticing but a bit dull for the fast-paced puzzle-lover.

Ocean Quest [iTunes Link] requires iPhone OS 3.0 or later and is compatible with iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. A small expedite fee was paid by the developer to speed up the publication of this review.

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