|Publisher: Skunk Studios Genre: Puzzle & Trivia|
|Min OS X: 10.1 CPU: G3 @ 500 MHz RAM: 128 MB Hard Disk: 8 MB Graphics: 640x480|
Skunk Studios' Sveerz Deluxe is a new variation on a range of old themes, combining elements from a number of pattern-matching puzzle games to produce something that seems quite familiar whilst still being a little different. In very basic terms, Sveerz blends Tetris-like elements with the musical note-repetition aspect of Simon, but there are plenty of other influences as well.
Featured recently with a trailer on Apple's own website, Sveerz' big claim to fame is its musical underpinnings. In fact, its soundtrack was recently nominated for the Game Audio Network Guild's Best Interactive Music Score award.
GameplayThe objective of Sveerz is to clear the hexagonal game board of red, yellow, green, and blue Sveerz by repeating the patterns of notes sung by the four large, colored Oversveerz situated at the left and right of the playing area. Think of the Oversveerz as being like the four big colored buttons on an electronic Simon game, which light up and play a note in a pattern that you have to repeat.
Unlike Simon, though, you don't click on the big Oversveerz; you repeat their patterns by clicking on the little Sveerz on the board, and if you repeat the pattern correctly, the Sveerz you clicked will vanish, causing others resting on top of them to cascade downwards. Bonus points are scored for removing unbroken runs of adjacent Sveerz, and for creating rows of three or more Sveerz in the remaining ones on the board. As with other similar games, you can (if you're lucky and skillful) create multiple groups during these cascades, which score you big points and help you to clear the board all the faster. Every level has a target number of Sveerz groups to clear, but if you manage to empty the board of Sveerz before the target number has been reached, you score a bonus and move on to the next level.
As the game progresses, new features appear, such as blockers, bombs, and bonuses. The bombs can be very handy because you can maneuver them into position and then use them at the right opportunity. As well as clearing all the surrounding Sveerz, they can also blast away the otherwise immovable blockers. New Sveerz drop in from the top of the board, and the game is over when there is an obstruction that prevents any of these Sveerz from being able to drop in (as in Tetris).
In addition to the main Arcade game mode just described, there are three other variants to play: Memory, Puzzle, and Rhythm modes. Memory mode is much like Arcade mode except that the Oversveerz build up sequences of up to ten notes. If you can repeat all ten accurately, you're awarded a Memory Bonus. Rainbow Sveerz also appear, which can be used to designate any color, but there are no bombs.
In Puzzle mode, the Oversveerz are inactive and there are no sequences to repeat. The aim here is to play strategically, making up as many combinations as possible. Lastly, Rhythm mode requires you to repeat sequences with accurate rhythmic timing as well as in the right order; the accuracy of rhythmic repetition determines how many extra Sveerz will drop into the play area.
Sveerz Deluxe also features a two-player head-to-head mode in which players take turns to play the same level, competing for the best score. There is also a separate high score table for each game mode, and besides the local records you can compare your performance with other players online.