Are you a fan of Instagram? I often find myself taking snaps with the app, adding some special effects, and then posting them for close friends and complete strangers to enjoy. Now the folks at Tiny Hearts, the developers of the fun Pocket Zoo app I reviewed last year, have come up with Instamatch -- a US$1.99 universal iOS app (on sale for $0.99 for a limited time) released today that turns those awesome Instagram photos into a fun and challenging matching game.
Instamatch is a variation on the old "Concentration" matching game that has contestants matching similar Instagram photos. There are several ways to play -- you can either select photos from your own Instagram account, in which case you match two identical copies of photos until all photos are matched, or from a selection of photos of Nature, Food, Animals, Cities, or World Wonders. With the latter, you match similar photos of the same subject, like two different photos of the Golden Gate Bridge. There's also a search mode, so you can find and match photos of just about any subject under the sun.
To get a high score, you need to match all of the photo pairs as quickly as possible. It's also helpful to be lucky enough to match two photos without looking at them first -- the combos give you extra points that really add up.
On the iPhone, the game can be played with one or two players, and there are three levels of difficulty -- Easy, with 12 photo cards; Normal, with 20 cards; and Hard, with 20 moving cards. For the iPad, up to four players can vie for the high score, and the Normal and Hard difficulty levels jump up to 30 cards. In multiplayer game play, the players take turns in succession so that a sharp-eyed player can watch for clues and then rack up extra points. There's Game Center support built into the app for shouting out your bragging rights for high Instamatch scores.
I find Instamatch to be a fun time-killer. Individual games don't take that long, so it's the perfect game to play while you're waiting in a line and need to waste some time. An internet connection is required in order to grab the Instagram photos, so this isn't a game that you'd be able to play on an airplane unless it's equipped with Wi-Fi. The multiplayer game, especially on the iPad with 30 cards, throws a bit of strategy into play.
The user interface is easy to understand and is beautifully designed, both of which add value to Instamatch. Especially at the 99¢ introductory price, Instamatch is a gotta-buy app for game lovers of any age.