Developer: Alessandro Giuliani
Price: $1.99 Download on the App Store
From the iPod touch to the new iPad, puzzle games have been a favorite of iOS gamers. However, games are only as good as their design. It takes more than a touch-friendly platform to succeed. It's up to the developer to dream up new innovations and unique features, then create an enjoyable user experience. The Ring feels like one of those games that started with a good idea but lacks one important factor: polish.
Don't get me wrong, as someone who's reviewed quite a few puzzle games, The Ring is still intriguing and Arc0baleno may even be onto something.
The Ring sets itself apart from the crowd of dime-a-dozen repeats with a entirely new take on puzzle gameplay. Unfortunately, there are also unnecessary errors that make the app look hastily put together.
The Ring eschews the typical horizontal "falling down" approach to puzzle blocks. Instead, you are situated in the center of a ring and you launch puzzle pieces into a sort of "space-like" arena, where they bounce and hit apart like dominoes. Your goal is to fit as many into the space as possible.
As backstory, the game states you are taking an aptitude test for the year 5153, which apparently involves fitting little blocks inside a ring. While the story is nothing to inspire Spielberg, it does get the point across.
The Ring starts off in an exciting new direction for the puzzle genre. It aims to rewrite the idea of how users can place their pieces, and incorporates gravity and momentum into the equation.
Where The Ring falls short, is in over simplification. The game's strategy does not allow the player to make combos, line up pieces, or make patterns. Instead, you cram as many pieces into the space as you can. Period. It's more a mixture of luck and skill. The only goal is to gather more points before you hit the center piece and go broke — much like in Bubbly Eyes Free.
Sadly, this is a very boring concept for its tetris-like pieces. While a square peg doesn't necessarily fit a round hole, innovation (which is what this game seems to base itself on) could experimented with new kinds of gameplay. Instead, The Rings focuses has a very linear goal that depends on bugs and luck instead of strategy.
As you play, the Ring spins randomly changing in speed and direction. If you win the round, you can save your unique ring set as a wallpaper. Again, it's a neat idea that seems to fall just a bit short of the goal.
In the end, the game seemed to lack a lot of bug and feature testing. The menu does not offer a level selection, nor the ability to actually save. Instead, you keep going in rounds until you lose and have to start all over again at the first level should you quit.
In the end you'll have to take The Ring for what it is: a proof of concept. If The Ring gets a bit more time in the incubator, it could be a true game-changer. It just needs a bit more polish.