Evergrow for iPhone proves matching-based puzzle games are actually super exciting

These days, keeping up with games can be a full-time job. So how do you separate the signal from the noise, the wheat from the chaff, the Temple Runs from the Temple Jumps? Allow us to help by regularly selecting a game You Should Play.

When I first downloaded Evergrow, I thought I knew exactly what the game was going to be: A minimalist puzzle game that hinged on one or two clever mechanics, possibly with a decent soundtrack.

But I was wrong.

This isn’t your typical casual puzzle game—not at all. It might start out that way, but it quickly becomes an exciting, action-based puzzler that will have you frantically multitasking as you fling blocks haphazardly around the screen. It’s also got a semblance of a storyline, which is kind of neat—it adds some character and drive to each level, and you don’t feel like you’re just rushing to complete the game for no reason.

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It looks simple, but it’s surprisingly intense.

In short, Evergrow is a polished, clever, and surprisingly addictive physics-based puzzle game. Here’s why you need to check it out:

It grows on you: Like many casual iOS games, Evergrow starts you out very slowly—in fact, it starts you out with a quick tutorial where you’re introduced to the main “character” (a “Chromaroid”), as well as the initial game mechanics. These initial mechanics are pretty simple—all you’re doing is dragging your finger across the screen to propel colorful blocks toward or away from your Chromaroid. Blocks of the same color are good and will attach to your Chromaroid to make it grow larger; blocks of different colors are bad and will hurt your Chromaroid. To add a same-colored block to the Chromaroid, tap and drag it until it touches (it will slide into place). To repel different-colored blocks, tap and flick them away from your little dude.

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Pick a color gem and drag it to the middle to wake up your Chromaroid.

If this seems a bit overly simple, that’s because it…is. The game starts out with these very basic game mechanics, and the first few levels are a bit…boring.

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After the first few levels, things start to get exciting. And yes…you can die.

But there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, because once you’ve cleared the first few levels the game picks up pretty quickly by introducing new block types (various special blocks that do things like shield your structure from harm or zap offensive blocks into oblivion) and new enemies (hurtling cannons and explosive mines), not to mention environmental hurdles and increasingly difficult completion goals. Fight through the first few levels—it’s worth it! 

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