Emoticus: Like Spartacus, but With a Better Color Scheme

Price: $0.99

Emoticus: iPhone App Written Review

Emoticus for iPhone

Reviewed by Luke Patrick

No matter what the packaging, the game mechanic, or the flavor of the day, we’re just bonkers for matching games. There’s something about the thrill of mangling our way through a horde of like-colored objects, or painting ourselves into a corner with poor strategy, that gets our blood going. Emoticus, by developer Paul Watt, does a lot to scratch our matching game itch, and though the game isn’t quite perfect, it’s easily worth a test drive. If you’re looking for another stellar color-matching title to add to your iPhone or iPad collection, this one’s your ticket.

Concept and Gameplay

In every sense of the word, Emoticus is your ye olden classic color matching game (with one notable catch, which we’ll discuss a little later on). The game presents the player with a board filled by smiling emoticons, each of which comes with its own unique color. By tapping on like-colored groups, the player can clear the board. Obviously, tapping on larger groups yields a higher point bonus, while playing sissy and only knocking out two at a time earns you next to nothing. This does a lot to keep the game fresh, but we still found ourselves wanting more. Integrating Game Center would add some much needed spice to the mix, as would introducing a few choice power-ups here and there. Even a timer would do a lot to keep our interest muscles engaged.

One thing Emoticus does have going for it, however, is its stellar hands-on gameplay. At any time, the user is free to rearrange the game board, Rubix-cube style. Emoticons can be flicked up, down, sideways, or spillways, allowing for an unprecedented level of control.

Design and Graphics

Emoticus for iPhone

Emoticus for iPhone

Sadly, there’s no aspect of Emoticus we enjoyed less than its graphics. We realize we’re sticklers for eye candy, but there’s simply not much aesthetic meat on the app’s bones. The game sprites themselves are static and unmoving, while the menus felt cheap and amateurish. Thankfully, graphics are hardly a deal breaker in most cases: With a few major improvements via future updates, Emoticus can easily turn its graphical boat around, and establish a metaphor more suitable to its feel and unique gameplay.

Overall Value

And, of course, we can hardly knock the game for its price. Clocking in at the ever-sweet $0.99, Emoticus is easily worth the dollar it costs if you’re a fan of the genre, like we are. If you’re looking for a quick way to clear a few minutes in the queue, Emoticus is your man. In fact, we’d even recommend it for a solid morning commute, or bout of extended play. And, as mentioned, we have every confidence future updates will bring more eye-candy, and even better gameplay.

EmoticusEmoticus requires iOS 4.2 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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