There’s an overabundance of cute things on the App Store, as anyone who takes time to prowl it knows. Whether or not something will be equally as fun as it is cute is always a mystery, but in this case, Pinch Peeps (Free) has managed to pull off that oh-so-desirable perfect balance between sickeningly adorable and fun to play.
The retro gamer in me loves when games are pared down to the absolute basics, and that is the case with Pinch Peeps. There is one gameplay mechanic, which you’ll simply repeat for the whole of the game: pinching your fingers together. In each of the two modes (Timed and Endless), you’ll be faced with the challenge of matching pairs of cutely-shaped blobs with eyes (called “peeps") to rack up points.
In the case of Timed mode, you’ll have one minute to get matching. There are bonuses for matching quickly and for matching enough in a row, and since this mode is timed you’ll want to make sure you match as fast as your fingers can fly. You’ll also notice that a “perfect" pinch earns you more points. Also, matching clusters of peeps earns you far more than matching those lone singles, so make sure you prioritize those dudes.
Timed mode makes for a good quick game, but in my opinion Endless is far more challenging and fun. In this mode, you have three hearts that symbolize your lifespan, and every time you miss a match or hit an obstacles, you lose one of them. You will also see more bombs in this mode, which you need to flick apart instead of together to keep them from exploding. Obstacles come in the form of thin bars that change in shape and move around your screen. These are truly difficult to avoid when they get rolling, so you’ll want to be a master level flicker by then.
As you complete each section of Endless, you see a big peep surrounded by little peeps you’ll have to touch in a certain order to get a bonus. If you do so successfully, you’ll make it to the next round, which promises to be harder than the one before it.
Pinch Peeps is worlds different than Everplay’s last title, Spellsword ($0.99), but it has that same quality feel to it. I can’t help but be reminded of past arcade titles that have the same simplicity and instant gameplay hook (Doodle Jump ($0.99), anyone?). By giving the player a single mission and simply allowing them to hone it well by repetition, you have the chance of making something great. But that one thing you have to do over and over has to be really fun.
Colorful graphics and great music accompany the solid gameplay to make this one a winner. It’s hooked up to Game Center as well, so you’ll have a nice handful of achievements to shoot for (some of them quite challenging). If you’ve been craving that simple arcade experience, Pinch Peeps is the way to go. Plus, there’s just something I can’t resist about the way they giggle when you match them together. All they want to do is be together, you know?