Ruby Blast Review (iOS): Digging down, but not any deeper
For those that aren't in the know, Ruby Blast is a cross between Diamond Dash by Wooga and the Diamond Mine mode found in Bejeweled 3 and subsequent mobile releases by PopCap. All players need to do is tap sections of three or more gems to make them disappear, with matches made along the lowest possible spaces knocking away pieces of rock.
When all the rock is cleared resting above the line, the bedrock is raised and time is added to the ever-ticking clock. Like any decent match-3 game, players unlock power-ups as they level up to drive up scores and make for a flashier experience. In fact, they're all the same power-ups that players will find in Ruby Blast on Facebook.
Of course, that's kind of the point. Ruby Blast on iOS connects with its Facebook counterpart through Facebook Connect, allowing players to compete in tournament mode from either device. It's a terribly conservative move for Zynga, but also quite a wise one. Its competition hasn't exactly reinvented its match-3 offerings in moving to mobile.
While there isn't anything terribly exciting about having the same Facebook game available on iOS, there's a pure, almost primal joy to playing a game like this with touch controls. (It's not like this editor nearly missed his subway stop this morning playing Ruby Blast on his phone or anything.) It's for that reason that Ruby Blast will likely stand proud amongst its competition.
However, Zynga's tricky schemes to get you to pay are quite annoying (like, say, the energy system). For instance, the score you're shown after running out of time isn't actually your final score. Before you get to see your true score, Zynga wants to get you to pay up for an extra 15 seconds of time to beat your best score. Only pressing the "Skip" button will reveal how well you actually did, which could sometimes result in a new personal best anyway.
Shady monetization schemes aside, Ruby Blast is a fine addition to Zynga's stable of mobile games. While there isn't much about the game that's crazy exciting, the Ruby Blast fan will find lots to appreciate in a mobile version of his or her favorite match-3 game. Then again, this guy nearly ended up 20 city blocks ahead of his office because of this game, so take that as you will.
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