Sometimes it’s so hard finding a game that is truly original and fun to play. I can’t help but think that all the new ideas for game concepts are gone, and every new release is just a rehash of something that’s already out there, albeit with a few extra features to differentiate it from the rest of the pack. Animal Battle is one such game, and even though it is a healthy mixture of Tetris and Bejeweled, it has enough to set it apart and make it a game worthy of the space it takes up on your phone.

What is it?

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As mentioned before, Animal Battle truly is a mixture of Tetris and Bejeweled: a puzzle game that involves rotating blocks of various colors to make matching sets all while making sure your playing field doesn’t fill up with said blocks. The schtick is that you pick a different member of the animal kingdom to represent you in the game battle it out against another creature of the wild.

The Good

Right off the bat, you’re greeted with bright colors, adorably animated animals, and catchy jungle music that doesn’t get tiresome.  It really leaves a great first impression. Your first step is to choose which game mode you would like to play. You can choose 1 or 2 player, with 1 player having a battle and tournament mode. More on those later.

After you pick how you want to play, you choose whom you would like to play as. There are about 15 animals you can choose from. I always choose Ninj the Turtle.

The gameplay itself is fairly easy, but at the same time difficult enough to keep you challenged. You tap the screen to rotate your two colored blocks, swipe left and right to change their position on the board, and swipe up to place them on the board. There are four different colored blocks that you continually stack on top of one another. Unlike most games of this kind, they don’t disappear after you match up three or more of the same color. It’s not until you place a matching block with a star inside of it that all the blocks disappear. There’s also a wild star block that will change into whatever color it touches and automatically destroy the blocks of the same color that are part of that chain.

If the game were just that, it would still be pretty fun. The extra mile is the fact that you are competing against another animal. The first player to have one of their blocks reach the bottom of the screen loses.

In single player mode, you can choose between battle and tournament. A battle is an individual challenge against an animal, while a tournament is a succession of fights against the full roster of animals. The puzzles get increasingly difficult after each victory.

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In two player mode, half of the screen is flipped upside down, and you challenge a friend who is sitting in front of you and playing on the same screen.

The Bad

No game is complete without those little achievements to keep you coming back. Developers put them in there so you won’t get bored of the game after two days and end up deleting it. If you’ve got a long list of tasks to complete, you will feel compelled to open the game and play until you’ve conquered them all. There’s nothing inherently wrong with this technique, I just mentioning it in the bad portion of this review because I think it’s a gimmick that’s a little played out and needs to see some sort of improvement on the way it works.

I started playing the game at night, in my bed, lights off, before going to sleep. I didn’t realize that if you take too long to decide where you want to swipe your blocks, the voice of Satan chooses for you and screams “Auto Pilot” as he slams your blocks wherever they happen to be hovering at the moment. It was odd and unexpected to have a deep baritone voice randomly say “Auto pilot” while I was in the middle of a game with cast of creatures from the wild. It scared the loving mess out of me the first time, and I still constantly live in fear Satan letting me know he’s taking the game into his own hands at any time. It seriously makes me anxious and over eager to choose where I’m going to place my blocks. Maybe I’m just a pansy. Maybe I take too long to place my blocks. Maybe Satan shouldn’t be in this game. I’m not sure, but it’s definitely one of those.

I haven’t tried two player mode yet, but from what I can tell, I would imagine it’s better suited for a tablet. It must be hard to share a smartphone screen. I have a Z30, and I’m willing to bet four hands on my screen playing a game will be more than a bit challenging. It must be more so for a Q10 or Q5.

Download it?

The game costs $1.99 in BlackBerry World, and it professes, “Dollar to hour – this has to be one of your best investments.” While I wouldn’t put it that high on my list of personal investments, I would say that the game is fun, addicting, challenging, and keeps you coming back for more. I’m happy to recommend this game to anyone who wants to try a fresh mix on a game we all know and love. Plus the animation of the creatures is sure to be a kick with your children.