Price: $ .99
Plus-n-Minus, by developer Andrey Tsarkov, takes an electric approach to physics puzzling iPhone apps. The game has players aligning the pros and cons of resistive currents using tumbling, turning, and rolling game pieces. It’s a fun concept, and one that’s guaranteed to please iOS puzzle fanatics and casual gamers alike.
Concept and Gameplay
Our iPhone app review cracked open Plus-n-Minus to find that it cracks open common electronics, turning the nuts and bolts of technology into a physics-based puzzle for your iPhone. The object of each level is to match up the plus and minus bubbles located on the left and right sides of the screen. To accomplish this, players will need to eliminate various field coins, navigate obstacles, and manage tumbling pieces in such a way that gravity combines the two.
This is accomplished in a myriad of ways, using pieces that turn, spin, tumble, and roll. The developers have created a large game world out of small electrical components, including pipes, lightbulbs, and power blocks. Each element needs to be eliminated or arranged in the proper construction, or the positive and negative orbs won’t combine properly. Even the timing of each prod or poke must be thought about, or the level is bolloxed.
The courses range from simple to downright hard, a challenge I found particularly engaging. The simplicity of the game mechanic also makes the app easy to pick-up, but very hard to master. That being said, I would have liked to see a bit more innovation between levels: The developers have taken great pains to add new elements at a comfortable pace (I especially liked the rotating fans) but even more variation in design would have been a nice touch. Mario-style warp pipes, for example, would have added a refreshing twist to the mix.
Design and Graphics
The graphics themselves are absolutely top-notch, especially on the iPhone’s Retina Display. The shiny game pieces look sleek and classy, while the puzzles themselves have obviously been given a great deal of thought and effort.
Animations were fluid, as well, while the physics engine offered here is superbly organic. The energy balls rolled in a natural manner that made the game easy to pick-up, while the eliminated elements performed in a sensical and realistic way.
I would have liked to see a few more levels, however, as Plus-n-Minus is a bit short as is. Game Center integration would have also added a carrot on a stick to the app’s mix.
Clocking in at a dollar in the App Store, Plus-n-Minus is a bargain for fans of physics puzzlers. The levels are challenging, and while the content is a bit brief, the quality of design Plus-n-Minus is sporting makes the app well-worth the dollar it costs.
Plus-n-Minus requires iOS 4.1 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.
The iPhone app reviews rating: