mod is an efficient and catchy little puzzler from sophomore iOS developer Wingboat, and their first foray into the games section of the App Store. While at first glance its hexagonal tile-based game board may bring to mind strategy-lites like Hoplite, its clear inspiration is one of our all-time favorites, Threes!
mod pits players against a four-columned honeycomb of tiles which are connected via dashes on one or more of their sides. Dashes that meet on touching sides are considered complete, joining the two tiles to each other for that move. If enough tiles are joined in a single move, they will form a corresponding monster which is “captured,” removing those tiles from the board.
Each move introduces a new tile to the board which can be slid into any slot on the outside edge of the gameplay space. Players can also slide already-existing tiles in any of the six directions available, moving the entire line of tiles along with them and potentially disconnecting past lines.
When you slide tiles, they will automatically rotate to join the maximum number of dashes possible; if you slide and hold, you can see if any monsters will be created by a move and undo your decision if need be.
The tricky part of mod is that monsters are formed automatically, so joining three tiles together will create a three-tile monster whether you want to or not.
To capture larger monsters, you have to intentionally avoid making connections until the board is almost full. And as you capture monsters you’ll progress to higher levels, where multiple types of dashes are introduced that can only match with their same type. It’s a surprisingly complex system despite being so simple to actually play.
On top of the basic puzzle system’s one-touch appeal, mod’s monsters themselves are an adorable treat to uncover. When created, they form on-screen from the relevant tiles, smiling, waving, growling, or wagging their curly little tails. Each new monster is accompanied by a short bio, and you can even visit them in the captured monsters list. Like Threes!’s personified number tiles, mod’s monsters add an endearing touch of character to an otherwise abstract experience.
We’ve been enjoying playing around with mod and meeting just a few of its 16 monster stars. You’ll be able to do the same when mod puzzle game releases on the App Store July 26th.