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Portabliss: Connectrode (iOS)


Did you know that you can download handheld games now? That's amazingly convenient! The only inconvenient part of it is finding the right games to buy -- and that's where we come in, with our Portabliss column. In each installment, we'll tell you about a downloadable game on the iPhone, iPad, Android device, DSi, 3DS, PSP, etc. Today: Connectrode!

Connectrode has become my zone-out game of choice recently, allowing me to spend a few minutes at a time in an oasis of entirely stress-free puzzle gameplay. Two aspects of the game lend themselves to this sublime mellowness:

  1. There's no timer, and no falling blocks. You can take as long between turns as you want to.
  2. Even if you have no idea how to correctly complete a stage, you can force your way through it
These two principles combine to make a game that I can look at whenever I have a second to play, and which is guaranteed to give me a feeling of accomplishment even if I haven't done a particularly good job.

Connectrode tasks the player with using "connector" blocks to connect two same-colored (and cute-faced) "circuits," being careful not to block the path to other circuits. So you put one green piece down between two other greens, and all of them disappear, or you build a chain of red pieces to connect two distant red blocks.

There seems to be a right "strategy" for clearing a stage -- a proper order in which to clear blocks, in order to make the best path to clear the stage in the fewest moves -- but I haven't really concerned myself with that. I'm content to brute-force my way through each stage, something the game acknowledges by giving you the option to auto-complete the last move instead of tediously placing connectors between the last two (potentially distant) blocks.

Eventually, the strategies will "click" for me and I'll discover a new level of play -- but I can spend my time playing Connectrode until that happens. When it does happen, the game offers four difficulty levels with more blocks and more challenging arrangements.

Connectrode is available from the iOS App Store for .99. We're always looking for new distractions. Want to submit your game for Portabliss consideration? You can reach us at portabliss aat joystiq dawt com.

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