Sometimes, even the greatest of games don’t gather much
attention. They can win awards, but since they aren’t Angry Birds, it goes by
unnoticed. Well, here’s a game that’s a powerhouse. With a nomination from IGF
as the Best Mobile Game, you know that Async Corp. by Powerhead Games is a game
to be checked out.
Async Corp. is a puzzle game, and it is probably one of the easiest-to-learn puzzle games I’ve
picked up. You’ve got two separate sets of 4×6 or blocks, each set containing a
range of three different colors. Your goal is to create any square or
rectangle, called “packets”, by picking one block from each side, which causes
them to swap. However, if the swap doesn’t create a packet, then the swap
doesn’t happen. You’re also able to add onto previously made packets. In order
to score points, you simply tap a packet, causing it to disappear and new
blocks to fall in. You’ll earn bonus points if you create two packets at the
same time, called a “sync”, and a grand amount of points should you fill an entire
4×6 array with one packet, called an “async.”
The simplicity of the game, yet the utter genius idea to
create two separate sets of blocks is what makes Async Corp. so great. Any
ordinary game would have one large array, but not this game. You’re looking at
two sides of the screen and working a multitasking skill, since you’ve got to
keep track of both sets of blocks. It’s a game that works splendidly, and
depending on the mode you choose, you can relax and think your way through, or
you can opt for a high-speed matching adrenaline rush.
I’ve always been a sucker for creative themes, and Async
Corp is just that. You’re presented as an employee working on a computer: you
enter the game with a log-in, you’ve got an inbox for your messages, etc. Not
only that, but the packets each have a face, and therefore they’ve got a
personality. They might whistle, or they may sneeze; these little additions add
charm to what is already a great game.
Also, the interface is extremely easy to maneuver; you may
take a second to understand the system, but once you get it, you’ve got it.
Async Corp. has a easy-to-follow tutorial and a menu system that works.
Async Corp. opts for a basic 3-color design (pink, yellow,
and blue), with more color schemes unlockable as you play. The graphics are
crisp and they work well, but there’s nothing that pops out from its simple,
but clean design.
I’ve never fallen in love with a game’s puzzle theme as much
as I did with Async Corp.’s; it’s better than Tetris’s theme. It’s upbeat and
makes you smile, and you can’t help but move along with it. With that, the
sound design itself is great also.
Async Corp. boasts four different modes: Quota, Async,
Zoning, and Freeplay. Quota is the classic game, where you score points while
attempting to keep a quota number of packets in a certain time, which becomes a healthy challenge as you enter the later levels. Async is
exactly what it means: you create asyncs, or filled an entire array with one
large packet. Zoning is more unique: your job is to fill a bar by clearing packets;
however the bar continuously goes down. There is no game over, but trying to
fill up that bar is a difficult task in itself. Finally, freeplay is a
With all these modes with probably one of the best puzzle
experiences I’ve had, this game should last. By last, I mean, it’s never coming
off your iOS device.
Do I need to say more? Fantastic puzzler, fantastic art and
design, and fantastic replay value. Async Corp. is a masterpiece.