One of the most popular casual game franchises – GameHouse’s Super Collapse! series – is back after a year-long absence with Super Collapse! Puzzle Gallery, an addictive puzzler with more than 300 levels to click through.
It’s a solid game that doesn’t mess with the game-play formula much at all — this is either a good thing or not, depending on what you’re looking for.
In case you haven’t indulged a past Super Collapse! game, players are presented with a 2-D board of little blocks of different colors. Your goal is to clear the screen by clicking on at least three adjoining blocks of the same color, which causes them to disappear from the board. More points are awarded for removing a decent size chuck of adjoining blocks, such as twelve touching blue ones (opposed to four yellow blocks), and even more points are given for clearing the entire board completely. Power-ups appear from time to time, such as a bomb piece that blows up a portion of the board, eliminating blocks in its path or an hour glass that temporarily stops the blocks from rising to the top of the screen.
Super Collapse! Puzzle Gallery offers a bit of a twist: blocks layouts are specific patterns, such as stick people holding hands, a frog perched on a lily pad, a jazz musician, the Statue of Liberty or a San Francisco cable car. Compared to past games, these boards are usually harder to complete because selecting three or more touching blocks causes ones above it to cascade down on the screen, and you can only win by removing all the squares from the board; because you need at least three adjoining squares of the same color, players will find themselves constantly clicking the Undo button to rethink the order of their mouse clicks so that it doesn’t leave one or two blocks by itself.
While there is only one game mode to choose from (unlike last year’s Super Collapse! 3), all puzzles are divided by theme, such as Hawaiian Vacation, with five available puzzles to complete; the sixth puzzle can only be unlocked by solving the five other puzzles in this group. Finish each puzzle and you’ll receive a big green checkmark to indicate you’ve won, or, if you complete the puzzle in the shortest possible moves, you’ll get a receive a gold “genius” puzzle piece wearing a square graduation hat (a “mortar board”).
Puzzle difficulty, which intensifies as you work your way up to the final 306th puzzle, is indicated by the number of green bars at the top of the puzzle group, such as two bars (somewhat easy) or five bars (very difficult). If you need help throughout the game, and clicking Undo a bunch of times doesn’t help you re-strategize, you can wait for the Hint timer to expire, which then shows you how to solve the puzzle – that is, which square tiles to click on, and in what order.
Classic power-ups are back, such as the color bombs (such as pink) that only destroy the blocks on the board of the same color, blocker blocks that can only be destroyed with a larger black bomb, or row/column bombs that only destroy a line of bombs vertically or horizontally, respectively.
Super Collapse! Puzzle Gallery is a fun digital diversion that is easy to pick up but increasingly challenging — but some fans of this series may be disappointed with the familiar “me, too” feeling back from past games. Sure, the pattern layout is new, and the fact blocks don’t rise up from the bottom of the screen, but the general idea is the same: plan your clicks carefully to remove all the colors from the board and use the bomb power-ups whenever possible.
Also, I found it a tad frustrating when I clicked on a group of adjoined blocks, causing them to disappear, the ones above it would sometimes fall down accordingly (as if there was gravity), while at other times, they did not move at all. Because of this, you didn’t always know what to expect, which could ruin your strategy until you clicked Undo to take another stab at it.
Overall, however, Super Collapse! Puzzle Gallery is a good — but not great – puzzler that is, at the very least, worth a download to take the trial version for a spin.