Don't ask me how this is even a possibility, but before I got my hands on Food Chain [Free], I had never played a single moment of Tetris Attack. Not even a second. Which is basically a crime, since I do love Tetris, but I guess I was sleeping under a rock at the time or something.
Anyway, after I went back and got schooled on what Tetris Attack actually was, I got down to playing Food Chain so it could see how well they used the same formula. For those of you who have never played either title, both are puzzle games that share a few common mechanics: falling block puzzles, and the ability to only move them in two directions. Unlike a puzzler that allows you to scoot blocks up and down, Food Chain will only allow them to be moved side to side to make combos of three or more matching pieces.
Food Chain's story mode will pit you against six different opponents, each with varying levels of difficulty. For each of their fights, your puzzles will have their own type of food, so at least you get a change of scenery as you go from one baddie to the next. In the actual match, you'll see your opponent in the bottom right of the screen, and you even get a peek at his board so you can see what you're doing to it as you make matches and score combos. Controls are accurate here, and you should be able to swipe your way through each level with no problems.
I wasn't crazy about the dialogue each of these bosses spit at you before the levels started, but hey, you didn't come here for the world's finest banter, right? The levels themselves are fun to play and a bit of a challenge for beginners, although I don't think a Tetris Attack master would get much out of it (ahem). Since I didn't have experience with this style of puzzler before this, I found later bosses to be a real challenge and was forced to improve my game to beat them, which made the overall experience of playing Food Chain that much more enjoyable.
Once you knock out Story Mode, you can also check out a timed mode and a multiplayer, which gives the game plenty of replay value. Considering it's free in the first place, you're kind of getting a deal there. It's also Game Center compatible, and considering how I couldn't stop replaying the levels to try to beat certain bosses, I feel sure people will get a lot out of checking out each other's high scores.
There's something about Food Chain that's a little rough around the edges, but that doesn't keep it from being fun. The restricted movement gives it a twist that makes it more challenging than average puzzlers, and I found myself going back again and again when I had a tough time beating the bosses in Story Mode rather than giving up. I suspect that puzzle fans will get a lot of fun out of this one ... not to mention, free is free!
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