I gave Super Bomb Drop DX a glowing review back at the tail-end of last year. It was a humble-looking game, but one which stole my heart — so much so that I boldly claimed it could “proudly stand alongside mobile gaming’s greatest in terms of compulsive playability”. As hyperbolic as it sounds, I stand by that statement and maintain that Super Bomb Drop DX is a criminally overlooked gem hidden away on the Google Play store.
Super Bomb Drop DX was the first in the ‘Minima’ series by one-man developer Take Two Tablets, and Inca Blast is the fifth. ‘Minima’ is more than just a series, it’s a concept — the idea being that games can deliver fun experiences with strong, simple ideas alone, without the need for technical bells and whistles — and the games in the series are an embodiment of this concept. As you’d expect then, Inca Blast is both thematically and visually simplistic, but that in no way inhibits it from being great fun.
Inca Blast‘s gameplay takes place on a boardgame-esque 8×8 grid, with eight differently coloured Incan statues aligned in rows on each of the four sides. Touching a statue prompts it to fire a missile of its color across the board, and the player’s objective is to clear the board of gem formations by shooting them. However, in solo mode, points are only rewarded if you strike the gem with a missile of corresponding color. Each time the board is cleared, a new formation appears and the time limit is extended. The game ends when time runs out.
This really puts your twitch skills to the test, and after repeated play you’ll soon be surprising yourself by how quickly you can destroy the gems after they appear. Inca Blast‘s solo mode isn’t merely a test of the player’s reactions though — the formations in which the gems appear are often fiendish, and require some degree of on-the-fly logic puzzle solving to determine the order in which they should be attacked. In this game, your ability to assess the situation quickly is just as important as the speed of your tapping, making the game less gung-ho and more cerebral than it may initially appear.
As well as the solo mode discussed above, developer Take Two Tablets has also included a four player mode in Inca Blast which is particularly intriguing. For me, one of the best utilisations of a tablet as a gaming device should be local multiplayer on a single touchscreen, but for some reason it’s not nearly thought of enough by developers. In four player mode, you and three friends position yourselves around the tablet and pick a color/side each, in an example of truly social gaming. Refreshingly, all of the color coordination from the solo game is stripped back for the multiplayer mode, and the game becomes an all-out score attack battle for who can shoot the most gems before the time runs out. The frantic nature of the game, coupled with the proximity of four players on a single touchscreen is surely going to provoke competitiveness and laughter in equal measure, and there are few other games out there for Android which capture the same feeling.
Let’s be realistic, the solo mode is what you’re going to be spending most of your time with — if you’re anything like me, occasions in which you have access to three friends and a tablet are rare — but the solo mode is great, so that shouldn’t be a worry, and on the occasions you do manage to get the gang together you’ll have a rip-roaring time.
Inca Blast is available on Google Play for a mere £0.61/$0.99, and is definitely one worth adding to your Android collection. If you want to try the game before buying the Android version, it is also playable in a browser via GameJolt. Finally, why not follow @TakeTwoTablets on Twitter for development updates.
[review pros="Great execution of a simple concept, score chasing will leave you hooked, 4 player mode on a single device is a wonderful idea." cons="sound effects are irritating, and can't be muted." score=91]