If you pay attention to the world of iOS game music, you might already know Whitaker Trebella's work. He has composed themes for games that include Super Stickman Golf [$0.99], Tilt to Live [$2.99] and Velocispider [$1.99]. But now he's taken on the role of game developer. Trebella's first game, Polymer, is due to hit the App Store soon, and we've had a chance to play with a recent build. It's a strategic shape-creating game, in Trebella's words, enhanced with a great soundtrack.

A polymer, in the parlance of the game, is a complete shape, one with no unfinished edges. You achieve this by sliding rows and columns back and forth to move pieces into place. A skilled player might be able to use every piece on the board, but each piece you move takes six or nine others with it. Larger creations become exponentially more difficult to make without disruption, but they're oh so satisfying to reach for. It's almost a shame to destroy them, but that's where the points come in.

Like so many developers, Trebella came to iOS with no prior programming experience. But his time composing for big names of the indie scene convinced him that he needed to make a game of his own. A little study, a little elbow grease, and a year and a half later we (almost) have Polymer. But playing the game, you can see how much Trebella picked up in his time spent on the periphery of iOS development. It's ridiculously savvy to the realities of both touch screen gaming and the iOS market, things most first-time developers struggle with.

It should come as no surprise that Trebella brought his musical talents to bear on Polymer. It isn't a music game, but it can be quite musical. Each of the game's three modes has its own soundtrack. You enhance that soundtrack while you play, destroying polymers that chime out musical tones. Each track is in a different key, and the sound effects, notes in the chromatic scale, are designed to fit within the key of the current track. In laymen's terms, let's just say the sound blends beautifully with the music.

Polymer's three modes give you a lot to play with. One lets you race for the highest score you can hit in two minutes, and it's polar opposite is a mode that requires you make the best single polymer you can in any length of time. The third ratchets up the tension in a sort of survival situation: you must destroy ticking time bombs by incorporating them into polymers. They come faster and faster until you eventually explode. The game also has a nifty unlockable system that introduces you to each element of the game piece by piece.

We don't have a release date quite yet, but Polymer has been submitted to Apple for approval so it's just a matter of time. Stay tuned—we'll take a closer look on release and give you our final verdict. An educated guess in the meantime: it looks like Polymer is destined to eat a lot of the hours of thoughtful gamers.

  • rustyjaw

    Looks pretty neat. Reminds me of a Zach Gage game, which is great in my book.

    • http://twitter.com/wtrebella Whitaker Trebella

      What a compliment! I was very much inspired by SpellTower so you're absolutely correct!

  • http://www.gamersramble.com/ Retronaut42

    The sliding mechanic remind me a bit of Chuzzle. Looks like it will be a lot of fun.

    • http://twitter.com/wtrebella Whitaker Trebella

      Hm I'll have to check that game out. I've never played it!

      • http://www.gamersramble.com/ Retronaut42

        It's one of PopCap's. I didn't like it very much.

  • Ben

    Heard about this on twitter a few days ago. Looks terrific.

  • himanshu modi

    I hate timed modes. But will pick up this game just for the challenge of making up the "single best polymer". I also look forward to some great music. Tilt to Live, even after all this time, has the best soundrack amongst iOS games.

    • http://twitter.com/wtrebella Whitaker Trebella

      Doesn't take too long to unlock the One Polymer mode. So you won't have to play Timed for too long! And thank you. Very glad you love the TtL music!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tim-Lord-Gek-Jordan/1559737263 Tim Lord Gek Jordan

    I love the man's music so I simply HAVE to give this one a spin the second it hists the AppStore (it doesn't hurt that it actually looks pretty fun).

    • http://twitter.com/wtrebella Whitaker Trebella

      :)

      • nomster

        Yeah great music - will check out Polymer for the music as well as the game itself.
          Love the theme to The Woods in SSG - has it ever been recorded in any way other than the 8-bit style for SSG?

        And is it based on a classical riff? Apols for off topic - just that melody has really stuck in my head (in a good way!)

  • http://twitter.com/anon_a_miss any-mouse

    It looks polished and an innovative twist on an old classic. Kind of match three, but more arty.
    I like the abstract look about it.
    I'm a big puzzler fan but I am sick to death of match 3s and usually won't go near them. So I'm quite confused whether or not I'll enjoy playing. Might give it a go to see, since alot of games I thought I wouldn't enjoy I ended up loving. Like Bumpy road.
    Chuzzle is a match 3 which you move an entire line, rather then just one item. That's the only similarities between the two.

    I'm surprised how long developing a game takes.. It must take so much dedication and persistence. 1.5 years? Thats a long time.. I wonder if that was study included. Was it made at a leisurely pace?