Hatch and match pop culture legends in Time Geeks: Cloneggs

When Time Geeks: Find All! was released on the iPhone last September, the last thing we expected it to do was spawn a franchise – but that’s exactly what seems to have happened. Cloneggs, the second game in the series, steps away from the hidden object hunt of Find All to offer up an experience that plays a little like a combination of Doodle Find and the classic children’s game Memory.

Players in Time Geeks: Cloneggs will tap on a series of eggs to open them, with each egg containing one half of a pair of clones. Once both clones have been hatched, you’ll need to draw a line with your finger to connect the duo and remove them from the playing field. It’s a game that’s infinitely simple in theory, yet is designed intelligently enough that things can get frantic fairly quickly.

 Cloneggs  Cloneggs

Working against the player is a ticking clock in each level. As the levels progress, the clock length gets longer, but so do the number of eggs. To further build the challenge, different pairs of clones will often have similar shapes or colors so that, at a glance, you might easily mistake one type of clone for another.

That’s all well and good, but if you were a fan of Time Geeks: Find All!, you’re probably wondering what this has to do with the Time Geeks universe. While the gameplay here is starkly different from the preceding game in the franchise, it does share two very important elements that should please any fan of the first game: outstanding pixel art, and a deep, nerdy love of pop culture.

Each pair of clones is an 8-bit depiction of a famous character from history or fiction. There are more than 200 different characters in the game at launch, with a new one unlocked for the player after the completion of each level. It gives the game a real “gotta catch’em all!” vibe, as you’re always only a minute or so away from seeing the next pixelated portrayal that Cloneggs has to offer.

To give you some idea of the wide range of characters included, here’s a small sampling of who we’ve encountered in our play time: Bob the Builder, Dr. Zaius, Oliver Hardy, Napoleon Bonaparte, TRON, Mr. Fantastic, Moss from the IT Crowd, Shrek, Mr. T, and a Ninja Turtle. If that doesn’t show a love for pop culture, I don’t know what does. The only downside is that with so many cameos, we can’t help but fear that it’s only a matter of time until the game is pulled from the App Store for a licensing issue.

In addition to unlocking characters through the main game, Time Geeks: Cloneggs makes great use of the iPhone’s additional functions to let you share with friends. If you have a pal who has unlocked Kermit the Frog and you haven’t, they can bring up a Clonegg card for the character on their device that features a QR code which you can then scan into your game with the iPhone’s camera. The developers are promising to expand the game through additional Clonegg cards in the future, which you’ll be able to scan right off of the game’s website.

 Cloneggs  Cloneggs

If you grow tired of the main mode, you’ll be able to access new modes after you unlock a certain number of pop culture icons. The first of these, Madness Mode, is a timed variation on the regular gameplay that offers all kinds of wacky elements not found in the main game. The second, which admittedly we haven’t managed to unlock quite yet, promises to let you create your own custom Cloneggs experience.

Without the crazy awesome pop culture references, smart QR code implementation, and intentionally (and brilliantly) confusing character design, Cloneggs might just have been another ho-hum twist on matching games. Thankfully Cloneggs has all of those things, making it a delightful little matcher with just enough going on to put a smile on any nerds face. After all – where else can you get Groucho Marx, Jack Skellington, and Pinhead mixed up with each other, except for in the frenzied world of Time Geeks: Cloneggs?