Electronic Theatre In-depth Review: Collapse

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For a mobile gaming platform the Windows Phone 7’s Xbox LIVE enabled catalogue seems rather light on puzzle titles. One of the staples of gaming-on-the-go since the Game Boy rendition of the ever-popular Tetris (which also has a version available on the mobile format), the ratio of puzzle videogames in relation to action titles, arcade classics and dexterity challenges is somewhat offset on Windows Phone 7. But of course, with there being such little competition it gives Collapse a greater opportunity to make an impression.

Collapse plays on the conventions taught to gamers with match-3 puzzle videogames and other board based experiences. The player has a screen-dominating playfield which will fill with coloured blocks over time. The player has to remove sets of matching colour blocks before the playfield fills to the brim, as would be expected, however, here there is no moving of blocks: players must simply tap combinations of colour to remove them from play, and all blocks within the affected area will automatically slide to the middle of the playfield to fill-in the gaps.

Each level has a set number of lines which will fill from the bottom. The player can complete levels by getting to the point where no matter how many lines remain, not a single block will reach the top line of the playfield. It’s a simple system, and one which player will quickly adapt to, but that doesn’t mean it’s as easy to put down as it is to pick up; just like most successful puzzle videogames, Collapse is an addictive challenge.

This basic ruleset is applied to a number of different gameplay modes, presented in either the Quest Mode – a map upon which players must tackle obstacles as they come across them – or Quick Game – the option to choose which mode you play in. In addition to the Classic mode described above, players can engage in the Strategy, Puzzle, Relapse, Panic Attack, Continuous and Countdown modes, although the latter two need to be unlocked. The Puzzle mode is arguably the most well devised of the bunch, though it has been used in many videogames previously: the player has a set number of moves to empty the playfield, and must learn the appropriate pattern.

Technically speaking, Collapse is a crisp and colourful presentation. However, it’s hardly pushing the hardware. The brightly coloured puzzle sections and detailed map during the Quest Mode create an appealing feeling respectably designed for as wide an audience as possible, but in that same regard Collapse doesn’t even attempt to break the mould.

Having already been made available on several different formats, developer Gamehouse has clearly struck upon a winning formula. Collapse is far from spectacular, but it’s an entertaining light-hearted challenge. Collapse is a quick and easy Windows Phone 7 puzzle videogame, a title that’s as instantly accessible as it is forgettable, and while there may be no chance of it ever rocking the puzzle genre, sometimes that’s all you need.











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