Rules! ($2) is a new puzzle game from TheCodingMonkeys. A polished puzzler, Rules! looks to establish ground in the competitive and crowded territory of casual puzzle games on iOS.
Grabbing early attention hasn’t seemed to be a problem for Rules!, as it’s catapulted to the top of the puzzle game charts and has hit the top ten for all games. It’s a quick-play puzzler which, at first glance, will remind some gamers of the equally exclamatory Threes!— but it has unique gameplay of its own. Developers TheCodingMonkeys may be best-known for converting board games Carcassonne and Lost Cities into iOS games.
As its name suggests, Rules! is all about following sets of rules as they pertain to a set of 16 tiles, all containing an image and a number. Players are given a rule to follow — it starts with tapping tiles in descending order. Once that’s taken care of, you move on to the next level, which gives you a new rule. After you’re done eliminating tiles based on that rule, you must finish the rest off in descending order until the board is clear — tap the nines, then the odd numbers, then the green tiles, and so on. The rules pile up one by one, and you have to do your best to remember them all, in the correct order, while eliminating the tiles in a set amount of time. Completing a level faster will give you more time to work with in the next level. Confusion will only slow you down and cause you to tap the wrong tiles, and soon enough, you’ll run out of time.
The game is all about memorization and repetition. Think of it as a more involved and better-looking iOS version of Simon or Bop It. After 10 levels, you’re given a break. You get to forget the first 10 rules, and level 11 starts a new set of rules. Getting to that 11th level is not an easy task. Quickly recalling all the rules in order — especially when some rules get eliminated simply by the corresponding pieces not being on the board — may be too much for more impatient players.
Rules! looks great, plays well, and the tiles are filled with cutesy, charming artwork. It’s clearly the product of a developer that knows what it’s doing. Some gamers will gravitate toward it, but we just don’t see the premise having quite enough replay value for most players. Perhaps it would have benefitted from some rule randomness when starting a new game, or maybe those “rule resets” should have come in increasing intervals, instead of the set 10-level format. A better learning curve could have made for a more enjoyable experience. Overall, Rules! is a fun game for the price, but it probably won’t keep you from going back to the truly top-notch iOS puzzle games in the long run.
iLounge Rating: B.