Fiasco!

Fiasco!

In this week's 'Cost of a Coffee' the Prof and Brian investigate a Fiasco! Not another one of Brian's failed experiments, but a new iOS game.

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In this week’s ‘Cost of a Coffee’ the Prof and Brian are investigating a Fiasco!  No, it’s not another one of Brian’s failed experiments, it’s a new game from Blinking Pixels that is available on iOS from 01-May.

 

 “Every day in the United Kingdom, we spend almost as much money on coffee as we do on tabloid newspapers. I for one would think nothing of popping into a coffee shop and giving a barista a few pounds to whip up a steamy, creamy latte; so why do people often object to paying that much for a game? I’m Professor Kelvin Harris and this is my lab assistant Brian.”

“I put the samples in the machines but sometimes I forget to and run it anyway, which causes lots of expensive damage and makes the Professor go mad.”

“Thanks for reminding me about that just before pay day Brian. Together we’re on a mission to highlight exciting and fun games that cost less than your cappuccino. This is ‘Cost of a Coffee’.”

“This week’s ‘Cost of a Coffee’ Game is Fiasco! which is available on iOS on 1st May.”

“Now usually if I’m talking about a fiasco, it’s because I’m having to explain Brian’s latest blunder to the Management of the University at which I profess, or more often than not, the Police.”

“At my last appraisal, I was called “dangerously incompetent”, which is an improvement on last year’s.”

“So it was a pleasure to be sent this word based puzzle game by Drew Olbrich of Blinking Pixels, who you might remember sent us the 4th Dimension app a few weeks ago. Fiasco! is a cross between Tetris and Lexulous… now, I would say Scrabble, but I suspect that Hasbro and Mattel’s lawyers exist in an ethereal plane adjacent to our own and can see and hear everything we say and do. Now a combination of Tetris and… Words with Friends, sounds like a bizarre combination, I hear you say”

“That sounds like…”

“We did the parroting joke two weeks ago Brian, and it was poor then. The game seems simple enough with different shaped groups of letters falling from above, you move and rotate them to form words when they slot into their position on the grid. If that was it, it would be a rather boring offering, but when you dig a bit deeper it appears that the game has a few interesting little tricks up its sleeve. Firstly you can choose a power-up at the beginning of a round allowing you the chance to earn a point or time bonus, or the ability to delete tiles or choose tiles. The best trick though I discovered after playing the game for quite a while and goes to show, it really pays to read the tips and tricks section included carefully, rather than simply asking Brian for a summary of the game’s features.”

“It has letters on tiles and the logo is blue and orange”

“You see what I mean? Unlike standard Tetris rules which were developed in Tsarist Russia, when you fill a column with letters and then land another tile on top of it, it’s not game over; instead any letters above the filled column are split from their original group and bounce back up to form a new one of their own. We’ve posted a video of this at codecmoments.com, but the significance is that you can use this mechanic to remove awkward letters from more useful ones and subsequently spell longer words that will activate your point or time bonuses. The game is incredibly socially orientated, you always play against a friend, or if like Brian you don’t have any, a random opponent, in a series of three asynchronous rounds…”

“…That means you take turns.”

“For each round you can pick an additional power-up and the player with the highest score at the end of the three rounds wins.”

“Is it worth the ‘Cost of a Coffee’ Professor?”

“Arguably, yes. There is a free version and a paid version, which we reviewed; at $3.99, expect the paid version of the game to cost between £2 and £3 on the UK App Store, when it’s released later this week which will remove adverts and enable you to earn coins twice as quickly as in the free version. This is a major gripe. The game charges you coins to do anything, starting a round or new game will cost you one coin and using power ups will cost more; coins generate at the rate one every six minutes in the paid version, to a maximum of 25, but don’t worry you can always buy more via microtransactions, in a game you’ve already paid for. Now I understand the need for pacing and revenue generation in a free game, but it’s frustrating in a paid for version, as I’ve previously discussed with relation to Bridge Constructor; doubly so when one power-up in Fiasco! is locked until you’ve played the game with three of your friends. Imposing restrictions on how often people can play and locking features in this manner seems a little bit stingy in what is a not insignificantly priced, paid for version. That aside the game is a lot of fun to play and if you have a few select friends with a competitive streak and a good vocabulary, it could be a great experience trying to top that leaderboard. Think of it as a wordy Trials Fusion.”

Fiasco! is available on iOS from 01-May and will have a 75% discount at launch. For more information, or if you can suggest a game that costs less than a cappuccino, please visit CodecMoments.com or check us out on Twitter, @CodecMoments, Facebook and Google+.  You can also e-mail the Professor by e-mailing him an e-mail to his e-mail address, Prof@CodecMoments.com.”

“See you next time.”

A copy of Fiasco! for iOS was provided by Blinking Pixels LLC for the purposes of this review.

The Verdict

7Good

The Good: A great twist on Tetris and Scrabble, with a social core and addictive gameplay.

The Bad: Paid-for version still has coin limitations and power-ups to be unlocked by inviting friends to play.


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