The gem-swapping sub-genre of puzzle games gets a much needed refresher with Feevo HD from Tetris Online. This iPad app takes the now well-known gem-swapping gameplay and adds some new twists to make it feel like a different kind of game altogether.
Feevo HD is bright and colorful all the way from the app icon to the game board. The “gems” on the game board are in the shape of hearts, clubs, diamonds, spades, and stars and are each brightly colored. The graphics are fairly simple and offer little variety, but work well enough for this iPad game. Matching gems creates some more activity on the screen such as lightning bolts and explosions that clear the way for more gems to fall into place. The visuals can get a bit exciting at times during gameplay when several matches occur so this helps to break up the graphical monotony. There’s nothing offensive to be found in the graphical design of Feevo HD aside from the occasional grumpy face that may appear on the game pieces. This is a non-violent puzzle game that is safe for all ages.
The audio in Feevo HD does a great job of creating excitement during gameplay. When gem matches are made players will hear everything from gentle chimes to loud electrical zaps and explosions. These will often occur in rapid succession which is particularly fun to hear. The music is upbeat and pleasant but is also limited in variety. A few more musical selections in the rotation would be a welcomed improvement to the game. There are some comments by a female voice occasionally during gameplay usually notifying you of achievements or when you’re almost out of moves. I detected no trace of anything offensive in the audio of this game.
Feevo HD holds replay value simply because the gameplay can be addicting. Like many casual games (gem-swapping in particular) players can get hooked on the simple fast moving gameplay and find it hard to pull themselves away. The game is fun to play and will almost certainly entice you back time and again. The game also offers achievement and power-ups that can be unlocked for reaching certain goals. You can even challenge your Facebook friends to beat your high score if you’re into that sort of thing. This iPad game is $2.99 from the app store, but it also has a hidden agenda. To obtain power-ups within the game, players are required to spend Feevo coins, many of which are earned during gameplay. These power-ups give the player a great advantage and are very helpful in getting you to the next rank by boosting your score. The game also offers in-app purchases of Feevo coins in exchange for real world dollars. Players can drop anywhere from 3 to 40 real dollars to purchase these virtual coins. While this is optional and certainly not required to play the game, it is also a feature that may be too enticing to players who have a weakness toward gambling or young players who may lack understanding of what they are doing and yet have their parents iTunes account password to make these purchases. This is something potential players and parents should be aware of before purchasing this game. If you allow your child to play, make it clear that they should not purchase these coins or better yet restrict their access to your iTunes account. If you feel you yourself may be susceptible to the temptation of purchasing this virtual currency to improve your game, you should carefully consider that before making the choice to purchase this app. This gimmick is becoming all too common in apps and is something that I hope developers choose to avoid in the future.
The gameplay of Feevo HD is truly fun and easy to get into. If you have never played a gem-swapping game before, you basically have a grid full of different “gems”. Your goal in the case of Feevo HD is to swap adjacent gems to match up 4 or more of the same gem. When you do this you clear those gems from the board, increase your score, and the rest of the gems shift down into place along with fresh gems from the top of the board. Feevo adds some creative additions to this popular game style. For instance, matching gems need not be in a straight vertical or horizontal line. Any cluster of 4 or more touching gems of the same type constitutes a match. If players match enough gems at once they get a power piece that will cause the entire corresponding row and column to be cleared when the power piece is matched. Players can also create mega pieces by matching multiple power pieces. These will clear all gems of a particular type on the board depending on when the player activates the mega piece. Another interesting gameplay feature is the “actions” bar. In Fever mode players have 12 “actions” to perform before the game is over. Actions are essentially the moves the player makes to match gems. Each move reduces the action bar by 1 unit. Fortunately, once your rank advances the action bar fills back up to 12. This feature creates the motivation to look for matches that will earn the most points thus advancing you closer to the next rank. The power-ups are very useful in this regard as you will almost always earn enough points to advance to the next rank when using a power-up. And if you’re a real glutton for punishment, Feevo also offers a “Blaze” mode. This timed mode is quote challenging and offers some very fast paced gameplay. Players must race against the clock and quickly gain big points to keep the timer from running out. This mode would best be suited for veteran players who are looking for a good outlet to use their honed Feevo skills.
Feevo HD is, at its core, a
very family friendly game. There are no offensive images or sounds to be
found within. It’s easy enough for all ages to pick up on and could be
enjoyed together as a family for some friendly competition. On the down
side, the in-app Feevo coin purchases raise some real areas of concern
for families. This type of thing certainly affects my decision when
purchasing an app and I feel that parents and players should be aware of
this before purchasing Feevo HD. You will see little or no mention of
this in the marketing description for Feevo HD. I look forward to more
releases by this developer, but would hope to see the elimination of the
in-app purchase gimmick.
Family Friendly Factor: 76%
Publisher: Tetris Online
ESRB Rating: '4+' for 4+
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