Jelly All Stars (iOS/Android) review
Jelly All Stars is a new iOS game from Immanitas Entertainment and Ghostshark Games. It’s available now from the App Store and Google Play in both free and paid formats — the free version is ad-supported and limits playtime, but allows unlocking of the full version via in-app purchase rather than having to download the full version separately.
The game is a puzzle game of the “falling blocks” mold in which players must maneuver pairs of colored jelly blocks into place in a well, match them into groups and then remove them as efficiently as possible by dropping like-colored “detonator” items (which resemble stars) atop them. When a detonator is dropped on a jelly block, all blocks of the same color that are attached to one another somehow will be destroyed. Jellies that are clustered together to form larger shapes are worth more points. In essence, the mechanics of the game are somewhat similar to Capcom’s old arcade puzzle game Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo, a spinoff of the company’s popular Street Fighter franchise, so those who have played that game will quickly find themselves at home here.
The basic gameplay is supplemented by a variety of special blocks that occasionally drop. Black jellies may only be removed by destroying jellies around them; bombs destroy all jellies in an area around them when dropped; arrows destroy the column beneath them when dropped; diamonds destroy all jellies of the same color beneath them when dropped. Further complications are added by “karma jellies” which drop when a bar at the side of the screen fills up — these carry a countdown on them, and may not be destroyed until the specified number of additional jellies have been dropped from the top of the screen.
The game’s presentation is good, with attractive, clean and cartoonish graphics and a electronic “tracker”-style soundtrack that evokes a feeling of ’90s nostalgia and memories of the Commodore Amiga. The interface, too, is clear and simple to navigate, and it’s obvious how the on-screen controls work — though there’s no option to customize these or use alternative mechanics such as swipe-based controls.
Where the game falls down a little is in its social features. Games like this are most fun when played competitively, and while the game does allow the facility to submit scores online under a custom alias (albeit one which is not protected by a password or tied to an email address), there is no support for established gaming social networks like Apple’s own Game Center or third-party cross-platform solutions like GREE or Mobage. There is also no connectivity with Twitter or Facebook for the sharing of high scores or leaderboard management, leaving the competitive online element feeling like something of a missed opportunity, and the game feeling like a rather solitary experience.
This issue aside, which the developers will hopefully consider addressing in a future update, Jelly All Stars is a fun, well-presented puzzle game eminently suitable for playing on the go. It just remains to be seen whether or not the somewhat under-implemented competitive social features will hurt its longevity, or whether the good gameplay and presentation are enough to allow it to stand on its own.
As a new release, Jelly All Stars is not yet ranked on our tracking service AppData. Check back shortly to follow its progress through both the App Store and Google Play charts.
A decent puzzle game, but it remains to be seen if it has the legs to succeed in the long term with its relative lack of social features.