Jenga [rating: 4.5/5]
For as many new games that hit the App Store there seems to be as many that are either re-makes or board game re-creations. Jenga, for those of you that don’t know, is one of the later and it comes to the iPhone from NaturalMotion Games who also brought the wonderful Backbreaker games to iOS.
Jenga is a party game where two or more players remove rectangular wooden blocks from a tower before replacing them on the top of the tower without allowing the tower to topple. It’s a very simple premise but is surprisingly addictive, both in real life and virtually on the iPhone.
The game is set in multiple environments that provide the backdrop for your tower building, but while the backdrops look good and polished it’s the simply accuracy of the Jenga tower itself and the individual blocks that steal the show, it’s as if the Jenga tower is sitting right in front of you, with no need for you to build it yourself!
While additional game modes are included in the game, for those of you who wish to get the traditional experience can play Classic Mode and re-live the game how it was supposed to be played.
The controls are simple and pretty representative of how you would play the game for real. You can move up an down the tower and spin it around by dragging your finger across the screen and when you see a suitable piece a simple tap will enable that piece. With the piece enabled you can start moving it out from the confines of the tower.
A tap on either end of the block will move it in the opposite direction and this is often useful to see how loose the block is. The real movement though comes by tapping and holding the side of the block. This allows you to pull the block out from the tower by dragging your finger across the screen.
The speed and direction of you finger has a direct impact on the movement of the block, the blocks around it and ultimately the stability of the tower and it’s all done very intuitively and accurately. The satisfaction of easing a piece out without toppling the tower is as satisfying as ever.
That being said the toppling of the tower is pretty satisfying too as the pieces crash to the floor in a jumbled heap. Again, as mentioned previously, the satisfaction of not having to re-build the tower is also great!
Success is measured in the height of the tower that you can build and your best can be measured with other players around the world via the in game integration of Game Center along with just under 20 achievements.
Of course all of this can also be played with up to four friends via the ‘pass ‘n’ play mode which enables you to play classic Jenga with friends.
To be honest all of this would have satisfied me on it’s own, however also included in the game is Arcade mode which puts you against the clock in a nerve tingly color coded game of Jenga. This is a great addition to the title and certainly keeps me coming back for more as I attempt to beat my and my friends high scores.
The time aspect in Arcade mode comes from the fact that multipliers are achieved from pulling out blocks in quick succession. This is often easy to begin with as the tower is relatively sturdy but as your tower grows it becomes less so caution has to be used.
Coins can be eared in Arcade mode to purchase ‘Boosts’ such as a Wildcard, Extra Time and Rewind which should your tower collapsed you can rewind time and take another go.
This all adds up to a beautifully crafted game that should appeal to young and old alike. If your a fan of the real game of Jenga there is no reason not to add this title to your iOS device.
- Perfect physics
- Smooth graphics
- Accurate game-play
- Fun Arcade Mode
- Only a local multi-player option
$2.99 (View in iTunes)
Released: Dec 09, 2010
Seller: NaturalMotion Games Limited
© NaturalMotion Games
Requirements: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 3.2 or later