Collapse is a new game from the developers of Bejeweled. I really didn’t think it would be possible to top Bejeweled as an addictive time-spender… and I was not mistaken – it’s not. But this game comes daringly close.
The premise of the game is simple: tap on groups of 3 or more identically-colored squares, and they will clear out, making adjacent blocks drop, kind of like Tetris. New lines appear at varying speed, which goes up as you get to higher levels. If you start at level 1, there will be 3 colors, while otherwise there will be 4; and if you start at Medium or Hard rather than Easy, your initial score will be higher than 0, though it makes little difference – the initial score on Hard is 65,000, which is minuscule. The initial level on Hard is 8, as well; if you really want a super-high score, my suggestion would be to start with level 1 and strategize until about level 10 or so, which should allow a fairly large score. If you start at Hard (level 8), you don’t have that much time until lines start appearing faster than rabbits (more on that below). There are also bombs, which clear out a large area, and colored bombs, which clear out all blocks of the same color. The amount of points you get for clearing out an area varies with the amount of squares you can get cancelled out; if you manage to clear out a very large area, you can get a bonus which can be fairly large if you’re on a high level. Generally, the way you play for bonuses is clear a certain color off until you get some colored bombs, and then you cancel out those colors to get as large a block as possible of the same color.
The problem is, and this is the downside of the game of sorts, that new lines start appearing too fast on the screen, which destroys accuracy and basically prevents you from enjoying the game. There are two ways lines start appearing faster: first, as you gain levels, the speed increases, but also, within a level, at certain apparently random points the speed goes up substantially, and the last 10 – 20 lines are usually done at top speed for that particular level. Theoretically, this is a good thing because it stresses your senses and makes you try the hardest, making your high score actually worth it and making you proud of it. The problem with Collapse is that past level 11 or so, the lines start appearing so fast that it becomes not only a tapping craze, but it’s next to impossible to tap on specific squares, such as bomb squares. So basically, the game is limited to about 12 levels, or say 15 if you happen to be a tapping God. But I honestly can’t see anybody making it to any higher levels than that (and, frankly, I don’t believe any of the scores on the Astraware board – I think people figured out the algorithm Astraware uses for their top scores, and just compete in who can enter the highest number. I guess that’s competition too).
Still, Collapse is a fairly fun game. I would definitely not go as far as saying it can replace Bejeweled as the next king of puzzle/action games, but it’s not bad at all as a runner-up. I guess until the next king comes up, I’ll keep having a checkered pattern on my screen.