Game Review: The Screetch
Release: July 22, 2010
Developer: Piston Games
Available Platforms: iPhone/iPod Touch
ESRB Rating: 4+
The Screetch is a great example of how you can use an existing gameplay mechanic and add something that makes it feel fresh. With a name like The Screetch, you would think this app might just set off a really loud and annoying sound or possibly feature an Image comic character from the 90’s. Fortunately, neither is the case. Piston Games has made a puzzle game by way of The Darkness.
The Screetch is a game for the iPhone and iPod Touch that challenges you to match 3 of the same color spheres either horizontally or vertically. This is nothing new to the puzzle genre, of course. The difference is that you are fighting the Screetch for control of the spheres on the board. Once it has taken over a sphere by covering it in black goo, you can no longer see its color. This forces you to either remember what color it was or to match adjacent spheres which will help clear the Screetch from the affected spheres.
Clearing each level requires you to force enough of the Screetch goo into a tube to fill it up. Once full, you win the round and a trophy of the Screetch you just defeated. Matching three spheres vertically causes them to pop and disappear. Matching them horizontally grants you a charged up sphere. Once you match it up, it will clear both horizontal and vertical lines it is on.
Visually, this game is one of the best I’ve seen on the iPhone. The art style is very good, as is the animation and sound. It also loads very quickly on my aging 3G, which is something not many apps do these days. Another great thing about this game is the colorblind mode. I wasn’t aware of it at first, but once I discovered it the game totally changed for me. Too many games like this don’t have the option to add symbols or numbers to the items you are matching, creating a much more difficult experience for those of us that are colorblind.
My main complaint with this game comes from not being able to restart a level that you fail. When you fail that’s it. You have to start back over at level one and work your way back. That’s a big penalty for making what could be a small mistake when dropping spheres. Colorblind mode could also be a more prominent option instead of being hidden in the menu screen during a game.
Overall, The Screetch is a well designed and beautiful game. The art style is interesting and unique. The gameplay makes you feel like you’re not playing just another match three game. The care and polish that went into this game shows on every screen. The price is a little high, but if an update comes out that allows you to retry failed levels, this game would be totally worth it. Also, if you’re colorblind, it’s a no brainer.