Another match 3 game? Yes – but this one has flying colored balls!
Purple balls, blue balls, red balls, galore! Ponk for iPhone is what both makes me love and hate the iOS platform. On one hand, the game is very cute, simple and to the point in that it’s a slightly unique take on the match 3 formula. On the other hand however, it’s yet another match 3 game for the platform.
First off, I’d like to point out that there isn’t really much wrong with Ponk or anything it does, it’s more the fact that it’s been done ad nauseam a zillion or so times before. Get this: your objective is to match like-colored balls in pairs of 3 for them to explode. While the game does have similar gameplay to other games such as Bejeweled 2 or Piyo Blocks, the game is slightly different in that the colored balls come soaring down the screen in a Tetris-like manner.
In order to make the matches, Ponk makes it very clear that you’ll need to drag these balls across the screen using your finger, and place them in the proper row. If there’s one thing that makes Ponk a bit easier than the rest of the match 3 titles available, it’s that the game tends to be extremely liberal when it comes to the amount of times you may move the balls, and where you may move them. You can even drag them back to the top of the screen just to get them out of your hair for a second if you like. Colored bombs also frequently fall from the top, bringing a quick and easy way to make room for more, or finish a level. To explode a bomb, you’ll need to match its color with two other like-colored balls.
While there is no real story involved in Ponk, the game does have three different modes to choose from. Klassik Mode, screwy naming aside, is exactly as you might expect, with you simply moving the balls around the screen accordingly and playing endlessly until you either fail or decide to stop, getting progressively more difficult as you level up. Also of note in Klassik Mode is the freeze option that allows you to simply freeze time for a few seconds and rearrange the balls as you see fit, giving quite the advantage if you have plenty of balls on-screen. Kaboum Mode brings in the interesting element of unbreakable balls at the very bottom of the playfield. In order to break these balls, you’ll need to explode them with the colored bombs or a special kind of bomb that builds up as you play. After attaining a certain amount of matches, you’ll be able to deploy this special bomb that explodes immediately upon impact. Timed mode also makes an appearance and just simply imposes a timer upon the existing gameplay. All three of these modes are very simple to get the hang of, and can be paused and resumed at any point in time which makes it very easy to play for only a few minutes at a time if you wish.
Providing nothing more than a simple canvas with colored balls to fill it up, Ponk is very light on the graphical details. However, that’s not to say the game isn’t nice to look at. In a recent update, a Halloween theme was added to Ponk, which does help in the graphical area. The music can be catchy as well, but does sound a bit muffled at times and can be a bit boring after a while.
While I do think that Ponk could be fun for just about anyone, I would have to say that only hardcore puzzle fanatics could truly enjoy this title. Providing three interesting game modes is the way to go, but the game is too much like other, better titles to recommend to everyone.