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Geometry was never this fun: Ultraflow for iPad

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IMG_0615Ultraflow is a unique puzzle game that combines the gameplay of bumper pool, min-golf, Breakout, and some of its own chops in one fast-moving milieu. While the play can be very hectic with lots of moving parts and bouncing around, the color palette is subdued to give your senses some calm place to rest.

 

The object of each of the 99 puzzles is the same: use your finger to launch a small circle so it bounces into a larger circle. There will be myriad types of obstacles in your way: bumpers as in pinball, brick walls to break down, energy-sucking barriers, or one-directional energy boosters that speed your ball on a one-way path. On each level your ball has only so many bounces allowed before it explodes. For simpler puzzles that number is very low, maybe 3 or 4. For complicated puzzles such as those with the bricks, your allowable bounces range well into the double digits, sometimes 40 or more.

The gameplay is very quick: you either solve the puzzle or die within a very few seconds. Some of the puzzles are easy, which provides a nice mental respite from the puzzles that can be frustratingly difficult. As with most puzzle games, once you figure out a geometric trajectory that creates a win, it seems obvious after the fact. There is a merciful hints function that you can turn on or off. Hints take pity on you when you’ve died many times in a row: a suggested path shows up on the screen.

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The graphics and motion are super-smooth. The sound effects add to the game play with bounces sounding as you would expect, and the horrible explosion meaning quick death ending most puzzles. A nice little win sound becomes rewarding in itself after you’ve solved a few puzzles. The music is synth-techno and in keeping with the frenetic gameplay. There are 99 levels so you won’t get through them all quickly. You get three chances to skip a level if you really get stuck.

IMG_0530Ultraflow is donationware: it’s free to download and there are no in-app purchases or annoying ads. There is a donation button on the home screen with which you can contribute whatever you think the game is worth. This is a model I would love to see spread. I would happily pay more than the usual buck or two for a good game without in-app purchases or ads that I could try first. Here’s an App Store link for Ultraflow.

 


Marc Luoma

I'm an iPad, and iPhone enthusiast, Mac user since '84, world traveler, dog and cat lover, living in Kigali Rwanda for a year.

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