Dream Of Pixels Review: Topsy-Turvy Take On Tetris
One genre that’s fairly popular in the App Store is the ‘Tetris clone.” Developer Dawn of Play manages to pull off a pretty notable take on the old Nintendo classic with its Dream of Pixels, a “Tetris in reverse” that genuinely challenges you to stretch your tetris muscles in new ways.
The novelty of Dream of Pixels is how it plays against what we all know. It’s Tetris-but-not-Tetris. Instead of blocks dropping onto a stack from above, Dream of Pixels offers a cloudy bundle of blocks hanging from above; and instead of dropping blocks on the stack to fill and eliminate rows, you must delete blocks from the bundle and lift rows up so they never touch the bottom. This format means that you have to both think like Tetris and NOT think like Tetris, and that will really get into your head at first.
Once you get over that topsy-turvy feeling, the game is a lot like Tetris, and just about as enjoyable. It’s all presented in a soft, colorful cloudy style, however, that definitely sets it apart from tetris clones, which tend to be stark and brightly colorful. I especially like the way Dream of Pixels “goes white” as you’re about to lose; it’s a great visual cue that doesn’t require you to be watching the bottom of the screen to know you’re in trouble.
I also enjoyed the game’s Puzzle mode, which takes the concept of the standard game and applies it to pre-defined shapes. Now, instead of racing to eliminate lines, you must erase pictures in the clouds using a limited set of predefined shapes. It’s fun to play, albeit low-impact and relatively easy to beat.
There’s one thing that really annoyed me about Dream of Pixels, though — the touch controls. Unlike Tetris, where you move and manipulate a block before placing it, here you have to slide your thumb around the puzzle, waiting for the right silhouette to show up so that you can delete. And if you lift your thumb? That’s committing to the placement, even if you only meant to move to another part of the cloud. It’s annoying until you get used to it, especially since bigger thumbs (like mine) make it really hard sometimes to see how a shape is showing up.
And even when you do get used to it, you can’t just rotate or flip as you want; you touch an area and it autofills the shape for you, which may not be the placement you want. More than once I removed a shape in a way I didn’t want because somehow I wasn’t sliding my thumb properly, and that costs me lines of movement or left blocks abandoned, which in turn ultimately shortens my game.
While I may grimace at the sometimes iffy touch controls, I must give full props for the novelty aspect of Dream of Pixels. Anyone who has enjoyed Tetris in the past will probably get a kick out of this one for at least a little while.
Our Score: 4 out of 5