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TUAW Quick Plays: Alchemize, Dizzypad, Alice in Wonderland


Here's a quick look at three games for the iPhone and iPod touch we've gotten a chance to play lately.

Alchemize is an interesting twist on the old Tetris/Dr. Mario dropping block gameplay. The idea is that you twist and drop pairs of potions that will match up whenever three of the same kind touch each other, and then leave one transmuted element of the next level in their place. There are five different modes to play as well, including an Avalanche mode that will drop a line of elements on the field if you fail to make a match in a certain time frame, and even a Bejeweled-style timed mode with a full field of elements to switch around for matches. The game is a lot of fun to pick up and play, and while the graphics aren't much more than sprites, the gameplay (and the music) more than make up for any disappointment in that area. If you enjoy a good dropping-block game, you'll like this one, too. It's $2.99 but has been known to go on sale occasionally.

Two more quick plays after the "Read More" link below.

Nimblebit calls their new game Dizzypad "...Koi Pond meets Doodle Jump," but I'd say there's more of an "Ancient Frog combined with Canabalt" thing going on. You play as a little frog that jumps from little lilly pad to lilly pad on a beautifully rendered pond, with the added difficulty that the pads happen to be spinning. The one you're on has a little arrow on it facing in the direction that the frog is pointed, and you tap to jump, so the game is essentially you timing your taps to hit just the right angle to the next pad. It's addictive and simple fun, with every missed jump just one tap away from starting over again and that familiar thought that "this time, I can do it better."

The game's presentation is great, too -- Ngmoco's plus+ handles achievements with ease, and there are little frog skins to earn for each one, all excellently designed and quite cute. The only thing missing is social integration -- this seems like the kind of game you'd want to brag about to your friends on Twitter -- but I didn't see it outside of Ngmoco's system. Excellent game for $1.99, and the extras will keep you hopping right along.

Finally, Disney has released an Alice in Wonderland tie-in game in advance of the Tim Burton movie, and while the platforming is serviceable (and the art style is an impressive conversion of what we're almost certain to see of the extravagantly beautiful designs on the big screen), this one is probably worth skipping unless you have some die-hard young Alice fans in your family (or happen to be one). There are a few intriguing platformer twists, like the chance to switch various characters for various environmental abilities, or mechanics like rotating your iPhone to flip switches or using GPS to visit real world locations. But in the end, the game doesn't do much that any other $4.99 platformer does (may I recommend Castle of Magic?), and though I haven't seen the movie, I do believe I got some plot points spoiled as well. If you absolutely have to revisit the world of Alice after the movie, it'll be there for you then.

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