Lines Deluxe—The Addictive Puzzle may have a ridiculous name, but I have to admit—it’s pretty addictive. Developed by Colorbox, Lines Deluxe is an exotic take on the basic “Match-3” puzzle formula, offering two different modes (classic and extreme), and three different types of gameplay (endurance, time race, and tactic).
Like other “Match-3” puzzles, if you line up matching spheres (in this case, at least five must be matched, not three), the line will clear off of the board. The point of the game is to see how long you can go until the board fills up with pieces and you have no more moves. Lines Deluxe is a bit different from other “Match-3” puzzles, though, in that you can move the pieces anywhere on the board—as long as they can get to that spot without jumping over any other pieces (i.e. there must be a clear path for them).
Each board is 9 x 9, and starts with a few pieces scattered across it. New pieces appear with each turn, and are foreshadowed on the square they will appear on two turns before—you can use this to move your existing pieces strategically (or you can move one of your existing pieces to that square, in which case the foreshadowed piece will appear elsewhere). You need to get at least five spheres in a row for them to disappear, but if you get more than that you’ll get more points—or, if you’re playing in extreme mode, you’ll get bonuses!
There are two modes: Classic and Extreme. In Extreme mode, if you get more than five spheres in a row you will receive a power-up (power-ups do a multitude of things, including nuking a square, nuking a whole row, and nuking a cluster of squares). Each mode has three types of game play: Endurance, Time Race, and Tactic. In Endurance, you simply play for as long as you can until you run out of possible moves. In Time Race, you play—you guessed it—against the clock. In Tactic, you must score a certain number of points to advance through levels (the levels get harder as you progress—more spheres appear with each turn).
The graphics and sounds are awesome—the entire game has a tropical island theme, and it’s put together very well. While not essential to the gameplay, the board features leaves that blow in the tropical breeze, and a running waterfall in the background.
Lines Deluxe definitely has replayability—as do many of the “Match 3” puzzle games—and at just $2, it’s completely worth it.
[Sarah Jacobsson is a frequent contributor to Macworld.]