Mikks in Review – Colour trap!

Falling block puzzle games like Tetris caused me to buy my first Gameboy. The simplicity and frustration of fitting things in where they can’t possibly fit is instant elation. Mikks doesn’t rest on the same ol’ Tetris mechanic; it both expands and deflates the idea: blocks fall, but not in compound shapes. They come singly, and quickly, and rather than frantically finding a niche for each, you have to perform a different magic: coaxing them to change their colours.

Let’s start from the top: Mikks is about colours and to a lesser extent, about angles. Since blocks continuously fall, you have to tirelessly clear the screen. There are many strategic ways to do it. Firstly, you can tap a block until it matches the colour of its surrounding blocks. Fun fun. But, you can also get creative, combining and separating blocks into and out of primary groups. To do this, you have to be mindful of the palette at the bottom of the screen. If it is yellow, you can tap a white block which will turn yellow. If, however, it is blue, then it will turn green. As long as you can get used to thinking in colours while constantly monitoring the palette, you will enjoy Mikks.

Right, so I have a green deficiency, meaning that I am colour blind – at least to some extent. Well, Mikks has that covered too: each block has a polygon in its centre whose angle denotes its colour. That and colours are distinct unless you have a pretty severe problem. Moving along, let’s talk about visuals – Mikks has a distinct design flavour. It is blocky an reminiscent of old arcade games. Its menus continue this trend and even the music’s beeps and boops in tune with the design, though there’s no way to turn it off. The menu system clearly follows the design laid out in Mikks. but sometimes, it is hard to discern which option is selected and which is deselected.

Mikks isn’t an easy pick-up-and-play title. Think of it as a study. At first, Mikks will be full of frustration, but when you suss it out, its rewards are pretty good. There are a number of achievements to be earned, many multipliers, and a local and global leader board system via Openfeint. And via the custom game engine, there are pretty much unlimited options with which to attack Mikks, but very little variety.

Mikks will appeal to hardcore puzzle fans who have a lot of time to really get into the game. But the vaster part of its market is probably looking for a quickly learned, fun game and for that portion, Mikks may be a hard sell. It is high stylised and fits with its gameplay, but its menu system is a bit hard to suss out, and unfortunately, so too are some of the explanations in the tutorial. For 99 cents, Mikks offers a steep learning curve and possibly a lot of game play, but it needs variety to make it a truly exciting puzzler.

App Summary
Title: Mikks Developer: Fishing Cactus
Reviewed Ver: 1.0 Min OS Req: 3.0
Price: $0.99 App Size: 9.6 MB
  • Cool graphics and fitting sounds
  • Unique puzzle mechanic
  • Gameplay is pretty deep
  • Openfeint
  • Menu system is hard to suss
  • Very steep learning curve
  • Very little variety


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