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You don’t always need an epic, 100-hour story, a bunch of sidequests, or loads of dialogue in your game. Sometimes, you just want to push some shapes around and zone out for a minute.
Smove — which is out now for iOS devices and coming to Android on April 23 — is in the shapeful, zone-ish group. It’s a very basic game with just a few simple rules, and it’ll give you something pretty to look at for a few rounds while you’re waiting for a bus or an elevator.
It won’t do a whole lot for you other than that, however, but it’s a solid game.
What you’ll like
It’s quick and easy to pick up and play
Smove has a simple idea: You are a white dot trying to avoid black dots while picking up as many blue jewels as you can. Every 10th gem is yellow, and picking it up moves you to the next level, in which the black dots change their movement patterns and frequency.
Touching an enemy circle instantly ends your game, and you stay out of their way by swiping anywhere on your screen to move up, down, left, or right within a grid of nine squares. And that’s it. The game keeps track of your high score, and your job is to beat it.
It looks and sounds pretty
I like a good, clean, minimalist game, and Smove is all of those things. It’s all just a bunch of simple shapes, and the in-game music has the kind of repetitive and unintrusive beat that ushers you straight into The Zone. Its presentation is solid and on point.
What you won’t like
It may not keep your attention for long
If you’re a competitive player always looking to beat your old high score or show your friends how much better you are than they are, Smove might be a good place to start your next feud.
If you’re like me, however, and not nearly so motivated to prove yourself — or simply prefer a more substantial gaming experience — Smove won’t do a whole lot for you. You might play a few rounds every now and then, but it probably won’t earn a permanent slot on your phone or tablet.
The weird shuddering thing the box does is distracting
Every time you bump your heroic dot up against one of the walls of the grid, it give the whole thing a slight jostle. I’m not sure if this is to make the game feel more action-y or what, but it breaks my focus for the split second it’s happening, and that can be enough to end a game.
Smove has a solid foundation, but whether or not you stick with it depends on how much you care about beating high scores. If you don’t, you’ll have little to complain about here, but even less to keep you playing.
Smove is out now for iOS and April 23 on Android. The developer provided GamesBeat with a free iOS preview code for this review.