Well-made ShakyTower game for Android just doesn't engage

by Caitlin M. Foyt

Shaky Tower for Android is more than just stacking up a pile of blocks — but not much more.

Let me give you some background. There are a few new rules and tips you'll pick up as you play. What you need to know before you begin is that you have to tap where you want to place a block, and you must quickly get a feel for how gravity in the game works.

A series of small puzzle games, you must either stack up or scatter a bunch of goofy-faced cubes on-screen. To play, hold your phone parallel with the ground to maintain your tower's balance or swap back and forth to send your blocks flying. Something you should also keep in mind is that these blocks are not all clones of one another: There are different sizes, and some seem to really enjoy bouncing around.

It's great on the surface, for a whole bunch of reasons: The fact that this game uses real-life physics is very neat. The variety of different levels and modes means the gameplay is always changing. The physics of the game responds well to my touch, resulting in smooth gameplay. I found that I had most control while I was standing up, rather than sitting down. Even the game's graphics, though simple, were colorful and easy on the eyes. In short: The game, overall, is well-implemented. However, I just didn't find this game to be exciting. I never really felt enough of a sense of purpose in stacking blocks or felt a thrill from the challenge. This game isn't especially imaginative, and I never quite felt engaged with what was happening or about to happen on the screen. Sure, the app is well-made, but it failed to keep me interested, and that certainly makes it difficult to recommend.

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