While there are many puzzle games in the App Store, very few vary from the match-3 or physics-based formula. It’s so rare to find a game that isn’t aping Bejeweled or Angry Birds in some fashion that even when a game is completely different, such as Dungeon Raid for match-3′s or Cut the Rope for physics-based, people are quick to assume the games are merely derivative when one mechanic is shared.
Bag It! is neither Bejeweled nor Angry Birds. It has more in common with Resident Evil 4′s grid-based storage system than either of those games, as you try to fit groceries of various shapes, sizes, and weights within a paper grocery bag. It’s a simple concept that’s instantly relatable to anyone who has come home to find smooshed bread or cracked eggs due to a bagger’s incompetence or, worse yet, their own.
Bag It! starts off with that simple concept and works very well within the confines. You place your grocery items within the bag while trying not to break anything. Items can also be turned to stack better within the grocery bag. Each item, be in a massive watermelon or a microwave burrito, has a unique shape, weight, and structural integrity. The items also have cutesy faces that changed if the items are distressed or displaced.
For instance, an upright carton of eggs takes the same 4×2 space as a carton of milk turned on its side, but the egg carton is more fragile and will break if placed at the bottom of a bag. It’s a simple concept and, after a short while, you kind of get a feel for how much weight an item can bear before breaking. The game also gives you visual clues, either trembling items with scared faces or a countdown timer, to help you gauge your situation. Items can then be shifted around so long as you have space remaining in the bag.
Each stage is scored based upon how well you do, as well as the item placement within the bag. Items placed together can reward you bonus points, such as the “Nice Melons” combo when two watermelons are touching, which can help you earn three-star marks. All stages have two additional conditions that award medals for completion and can change the way you play. When all items are placed in a bag (or, later, when you can no longer safely place items within the bag and choose to start another bag), a short motion-controlled physics segment starts. Players can use this time to shift items and further their combo bonuses. It’s a novel afterthought at best, but it can help you pick up that last remaining star.
These stars and medals are used to unlock new game modes. These game modes are similar in appearance, but vary greatly from one another other. Rampage Mode, for instance, asks you destroy the groceries rather than save them while Puzzle Mode will tax your brain as you try not to break giant groceries that are as fragile as their regular counterparts. The game steadily unlocks more and keeps things fresh. It also gives you options should you prefer one game mode more than others. Personally, as much as I like neatly bagging items, I really love breaking them in Endless Rampage Mode.
Bag It! takes a simple, seemingly banal task and turns it into the most fully-realized, original puzzle game on the market. It’s fresh, original, and thoroughly entertaining.
(Bag It! is available for $.99 in the App Store. It features six game modes, retina display graphics, and GameCenter integration with multiple leaderboards and achievements. It is not universal. iPad owners will want to pick up Bag It! HD, instead. Bag It! is also available for Android.)Tweet
About the Author
|Fade to Slack is a founding member of Delta Attack, an American expatriate in South Korea, and a true believer in the legitimacy of mobile gaming.
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Fade to Slack has written 311 posts on Delta Attack.