Do not be fooled by either its name or the cutesy screen shots, Smiles is as serious about casual gaming as it is colorful and adorning. Smiles is, at its core, a tile matching game. However, with two modes, Zen and Drop, it manages to differentiate itself from the others in its category and still maintain a sense of familiarity.
First, the more familiar of the two modes, is Drop. Akin to Bejeweled, the objective in Drop is to last as long as you can matching tiles. With each set of of three or more tiles, they disappear causing more to cascade from the top. When you are out of moves, the game is over. What makes Smiles stand out however is three-fold. One, rather than rotating tiles to make matches, you instead swap them out, one at a time, out of game play to a holding spot.When you find a place where it makes a match, you swap it with another tile, taking that new tile out of the game and creating your match.
The second aspect, and this is the clincher, is that through the use of the accelerometer, you tell the game which direction down is. So if it is in your better interest for the tiles to fall while your touch device is in a horizontal orientation versus a vertical orientation, you can do just that and the game will adjust accordingly. This creates a new level of play by allowing you to, in theory, prolong your life in the game. Lastly, Drop has the addition of ice blocks and rocks to the playing field. Ice blocks encase a tile in ice so that it may not be swapped out. It can be matched, thus removing it from play or if it falls a certain number of spaces, the ice will eventually break, allowing the tile to be swapped in and out. Rocks on the other hand, cannot be swapped or matched and can only be removed by falling a certain number of spaces. The addition of these two items pretty much force you to use the accelerometer to cause them to drop the required number of spaces it takes to remove them from the field.
Drop also has a dizzying array of options: you can choose from normal Drop or Drop Plus (which have three and four levels of difficulty, respectively) and Avalanche which also has three levels of difficulty. Each game mode escalates in difficulty, with Avalanche bringing an onslaught of ice blocks to ensure your demise.
Zen, on the other hand, is a the game board to light up by creating matches of three or more. Like Drop, you swap a tiles in and out of play to create matches. However, in this mode, no tiles disappear, thus, to get the entire board lit up, you will constantly have to break matches to make new, and possibly better, ones before you finally win. Also, like Drop, Zen offers varying levels of difficulties to appeal to all kinds of gamers.
The nice thing about Smiles is that there are no time limits, thus no pressure on your next move. You can move as quickly or as conservatively as you like. Additionally, the creators have added over 140 challenges to accomplish, similar to PlayStation’s Trophies or XBOX’s Achievements, you get rewarded for completing a certain task such as “Make 1,000 Matches”, “Lose on First Combo”, or “Get a x25 Multiplier.”
Smiles is available for $4.99, however, Smiles Zen is available as a stand-alone game for $2.99. Smiles Drop stand-alone is coming soon.