I have tried a few more free games on the ol’ iPad and have picked four with very similar game play features to blog about today:

Bejeweled Blitz is an addictive puzzle game where you have to make lines of 3 or more with different coloured jewels as they fall down the screen. You get 60 seconds to get as many points as you can. There’s various power-ups and special jewels and a daily spin to keep you in coins to buy said special jewels (they don’t come cheap). It links in nicely with facebook and has a weekly leaderboard amongst your friends. One thing I have found that is if you have someone who is willing to actually pay money for the imaginary in-game coins to buy jewels then they are generally going to beat you at the game every week. Using a special jewel wisely tends to add anywhere between 100-200 points to your total, depends somewhat on how lucky you are with what falls onto the board as you go along.

Bubble mania is a cutesy bubble popping puzzle game, in which you have to make a set of three bubbles for them to pop (sound familiar?). It is far more of a solo experience with no competition with friends. It passes the time and later levels require some thought to clear without running out of bubbles. Working along similar lines to Blitz (and I guess many other iPad games) there are coins to collect that you can use for a variety of ‘Boosts’ including such things as extra bubbles to chuck, extra points at the end, rainbow bubbles that match any colour, better aiming etc. etc. Very much like a similarly titled arcade game I remember called Bubble Bobble which used dinosaurs rather than a pink cat to throw up the balls but was essentially the same but with mania I don’t have to feed the iPad ten pences to play.

Tap & Clear is frustrating simple. There are some coloured blocks and if you touch a block it will crumble and disappear i.e. ‘clear’ from the screen along with any neighbouring blocks of the same colour. You are given a target amount of taps to use to clear the pattern you are presented with. As blocks are cleared the remaining blocks fall down to make new shapes where blocks may or may not be touching. It requires a lot of lateral thought processing which I’m not brilliant at, but at least doesn’t have a time limit so you can think about things for hours if you haven’t got any paint drying somewhere. It is perhaps too minimalist to hold most people’s attention for too long.

Hexagong looked to me like some kind of spin on the brilliant Hexic available for free with the Xbox 360 when it was originally released. It is in a way although you need to makes rows of 5 or more similarly coloured hexagons or groups of 7 in a ‘cluster’, to clear them and the hexagons are delivered randomly across the empty parts of the playing area (dare I say ‘board’?) The style of the interface looks a little like a college project and has a bit of an Eighties feel to it. It is free up to level 18 which I got to with very few problems and then decided it wasn’t worth buying. There are power-ups available again in the same way as all the other games.

Also on matters ipad I have to recommend anyone who has a Sky account for which you are no doubt paying through the nose for to install Sky Go. I found it very useful while I was ill in bed recently for catching up with some of the excellent stuff on Sky Atlantic at present (e.g. Sinbad, Adam Buxton’s Bug, Alan Partridge’s Mid Morning Matters etc.) through the Anytime+ section.
I was also a bit remiss in my previous post in not including a link to Sue Ryder so there it was. She provides me with holiday books and should get a name check / link.