Cylinder an addictive 3D 360 puzzler

Posted: June 1, 2009 in Puzzle

A puzzler at heart, I’m always on the lookout for new brain teasers. Classic games such as Tetris and Bejeweled have given way to creative variations that have turned some into the most popular games of their kind. 3D puzzle Cylinder uses the match-4 concept and puts it into a 360 degree playing field with some interesting twists that should appeal to casual players.

Visually, Cylinder is set in a 3D environment where you literally control a cylinder making matches in one of several game modes that will test your spatial matching skills. The game offers 10 abstract backgrounds from which to choose along with a relaxing classical music soundtrack to get you in the mood.

The game is set up so you can rotate the cylinder by tilting your device or through swiping the cylinder which adds a layer of dimension to the gameplay. To make moves, tap on the area, and two sets of rotating arrows appear showing the direction of the proposed cube movement. Tap on either, and the cubes rotate accordingly. A tap/swipe control option would be a good addition and probably more intuitive, but the current controls are not difficult to learn.

While the objective is to connect 4 or more pieces of the same symbols, it becomes more complex than that when you consider the different game modes—Endless, Puzzle and Relax.

In Endless, the objective is to make enough matches before the stacks reach the top of the screen. Two bars appear below: blue and orange. The blue bar represents the time before the next stack drops while the orange fills up as matches are made. As soon as the orange bar is filled, you proceed to the next level. Endless requires practice because while earlier levels have similar symbols close to each other, later levels will require quicker thinking and even faster moves to clear the cylinder. As the mode name states, puzzles are randomly generated so no two puzzles play the same. Under Options, you can select the last level completed.

In Puzzle, the objective is to clear the cylinder in a number of limited moves. The number of moves is listed below and completed successful will unlock a new puzzle. Puzzle is one of the more challenging parts of Cylinder which I really enjoy, and while there are only 20 puzzles now, it’s definitely providing for some challenging gameplay. Literally, there are some puzzles where you’re limited to one move—make the right move and the cylinder clears; make the wrong one, and you’ll be left to test other theories. You can also select the last level completed for this mode as well.

Relax is just that, and an untimed, fully constructed cylinder that offers an opportunity to practice different match strategies.

Cylinder is all about maximizing matches in the least number of moves. While connecting 4 is the baseline, you will find that making numerous matches simultaneously gets easier. There are even specific tiles known as silver tiles that when removed will also remove a tile opposite of the silver piece. In addition, a silver star piece which is earned by removing 9 or more pieces at once, can remove all the pieces of a specific color from the cylinder.

If puzzles are your thing, Cylinder should definitely be a consideration. Well designed and well presented, this game will get comparisons with Tetris, but the game is so much more than that. Cylinder is a polished and solid puzzler that with further levels to the Puzzle mode, online scores, and additional features will only get better.

Albie Meter: 4 Stars (recommended for puzzlers looking for a dose of 3D and challenge; ideal for those like spatial dimensional puzzles)

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