compressionmainAs a match-three game on a platform already overcrowded with such games, Compression, developed by Little White Bear Studios, had to do something to set itself apart from the crowd. Its developers realized this and created a new kind of puzzle game, while still managing to capture the familiar, fun feel of classics like Tetris or Bejewled.

Compression works very similarly to Dr. Mario. There are various colored pieces scattered across the game board, some hollow, some filled in. You control blocks that drop from the top of the screen and attempt to match these blocks to the hollow pieces in order to get three of the same color in a column or row, which removes the pieces from the game board. Removing all the hollow pieces from the game board will take players to the next level, where the difficulty will be raised slightly by the presence of even more hollow pieces and faster-falling pieces to be dealt with.

The twist in Compression's gameplay is in the walls, which move in closer and closer in a set pattern after every third piece is dropped into the board. A set of white dots appear on the section of the wall (either bottom, left, or right) that will compress inward next, so players can tailor their placement of blocks to best deal with the walls, which can remove blocks from the field if there is no more room for them after the board gets compressed.

compression2 compression1

A player's score in a game of Compression is calculated by a number of different factors. Getting rid of as many blocks as possible in one sweep will reward a player with a lot of points, but finishing a level early is important as well, as all available empty squares are worth 50 points each. The game has a full set of leaderboard features via OpenFeint, which should please anyone who is into achievement points and all of the community features that OF offers.

Compression's art uses a rather dark palette unusual in puzzle games, but everything is done in a clean resolution, so the game looks great on the iPhone screen. The game's music is good, but not great, although the track does feature a slow drumbeat that nicely matches up with the dropping of the falling blocks.

Compression is one of those puzzle games that seems to get everything right. The core gameplay is different enough to set it apart from the umpteen-million other match-three games on the App Store and simultaneously familiar enough that anyone can pick up the game and be relatively adept within minutes. This is a game that should give players something fun to distract themselves with for a very long time.

UPDATE: Give the game a try with the just-released Compression Lite [App Store] featuring five playable levels as a free download.

App Store Link: Compression, $0.99 , Compression Lite, Free

TouchArcade Rating

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  • Mr Crazy

    I love this game, i'm number 2 on the leaderboards right now!

    • Ryan Rigney

      I can't make it past level 10 or so :P I'm not hardcore enough.

  • Mr Crazy

    I love this game, i'm number 2 on the leaderboards right now!

    • Ryan Rigney

      I can't make it past level 10 or so :P I'm not hardcore enough.

  • Little White Bear Studios

    Thanks for the great review, Ryan! And welcome to Touch Arcade! :)

    If anyone has any questions about the game, feel free to join in on our Compression TA thread:
    http://forums.toucharcade.com/showthread.php?t=38909

    Hope everyone has fun with the game!

  • Little White Bear Studios

    Thanks for the great review, Ryan! And welcome to Touch Arcade! :)

    If anyone has any questions about the game, feel free to join in on our Compression TA thread:
    http://forums.toucharcade.com/showthread.php?t=38909

    Hope everyone has fun with the game!

  • Mr Crazy

    The reviewer forgot that at higher levels the blocks fall faster.

    • Little White Bear Studios

      Excellent point. Each level, the pieces fall a little bit faster than the last. It's gradual, so it may not be noticed at first, but by level 8-10, you will have to react quite quickly to survive.

    • Ryan Rigney

      You're absolutely right, I did forget it. My bad! That has been fixed :) Thanks for pointing it out.

      • Little White Bear Studios

        Thanks for the correction, Ryan. Much appreciated!

    • Lukeb

      Those blocks pick up mad speed by level 10. One wrong twitch combined with the slightest bit of random level luck can spell the end of the game.

      • Mr Crazy

        I got up to level 13 and it's much much much faster than level 10.

      • Lukeb

        I've been to 13 also, but at least by that point had built a good enough scoring foundation on the earlier levels to ignore combos and go for sheer survival, as was the case in level 12.

  • Mr Crazy

    The reviewer forgot that at higher levels the blocks fall faster.

    • Little White Bear Studios

      Excellent point. Each level, the pieces fall a little bit faster than the last. It's gradual, so it may not be noticed at first, but by level 8-10, you will have to react quite quickly to survive.

    • Ryan Rigney

      You're absolutely right, I did forget it. My bad! That has been fixed :) Thanks for pointing it out.

      • Little White Bear Studios

        Thanks for the correction, Ryan. Much appreciated!

    • Lukeb

      Those blocks pick up mad speed by level 10. One wrong twitch combined with the slightest bit of random level luck can spell the end of the game.

      • Mr Crazy

        I got up to level 13 and it's much much much faster than level 10.

      • Lukeb

        I've been to 13 also, but at least by that point had built a good enough scoring foundation on the earlier levels to ignore combos and go for sheer survival, as was the case in level 12.

  • Corey

    Why doesn't someone just make a APP called Dr.OIRAM (Hint: Mario backwards)
    and have the same retro art style as Dr.Mario with a retro soundtrack in the background but no Mario and sell it for .99cents

    I would buy this game

    • Little White Bear Studios

      There are already several Dr. Mario clones on the App Store to choose from. Just search on Dr Mario, and many will appear. Compression will not, as it was not designed to be a Dr. Mario clone. It may look similar on the surface, but the strategy and game physics are completely different. :)

      • Ryan Rigney

        I agree with this. Compression is different from Dr. Mario in a good way :) Although it definitely comes from that family of puzzle games.

  • Corey

    Why doesn\'t someone just make a APP called Dr.OIRAM (Hint: Mario backwards)
    and have the same retro art style as Dr.Mario with a retro soundtrack in the background but no Mario and sell it for .99cents

    I would buy this game

    • Little White Bear Studios

      There are already several Dr. Mario clones on the App Store to choose from. Just search on Dr Mario, and many will appear. Compression will not, as it was not designed to be a Dr. Mario clone. It may look similar on the surface, but the strategy and game physics are completely different. :)

      • Ryan Rigney

        I agree with this. Compression is different from Dr. Mario in a good way :) Although it definitely comes from that family of puzzle games.

  • Deewin

    Bought. I love the polish that went into this game and it kind of reminds me of Aurora Feint.

  • Deewin

    Bought. I love the polish that went into this game and it kind of reminds me of Aurora Feint.

  • ACADIAAAAAAAAA

    I'm buying.

  • ACADIAAAAAAAAA

    I'm buying.

  • john

    Prefer Colorix.

  • john

    Prefer Colorix.

  • Mark

    I got the demo version of this....

    This game looked promising till i booted it up and was greeted with incredibly slow and choppy menus which was a turn off for me straight away. i really like the concept through but would much prefer a sleek, minimal interface instead of the darkness that it is at the moment. I think the concept is solid but you can only squeeze out so much toothpaste out of a tube, in this case the match three/vertical drop gameplay that we have been playing for decades.

  • Mark

    I got the demo version of this....

    This game looked promising till i booted it up and was greeted with incredibly slow and choppy menus which was a turn off for me straight away. i really like the concept through but would much prefer a sleek, minimal interface instead of the darkness that it is at the moment. I think the concept is solid but you can only squeeze out so much toothpaste out of a tube, in this case the match three/vertical drop gameplay that we have been playing for decades.

  • Little White Bear Studios

    Ryan, thanks again for the review. I did have one small question for you, which I sent you in a PM tonight.

  • Little White Bear Studios

    Ryan, thanks again for the review. I did have one small question for you, which I sent you in a PM tonight.

  • jaytee

    can we stop beginning every match-3(/tower defense/word game) game review with a paragraph explaining that the app store is totally crowded with "x" style of game and that "y" studio had to think of a clever new gimmick to make their game worthwhile?

    we know.

  • jaytee

    can we stop beginning every match-3(/tower defense/word game) game review with a paragraph explaining that the app store is totally crowded with "x" style of game and that "y" studio had to think of a clever new gimmick to make their game worthwhile?

    we know.