Micro Art


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JohnBmicroart.jpgA new stylish title from Game Pure has just been released: Micro Art. The hybrid puzzle combines elements of SameGame and your classic match-3 game with a unique line-drawing mechanism that takes the heavy lifting off your cerebrum and shares the load with your reflexes. A pile of puzzle pieces rises on the left side of the screen while matching pieces float freely on the right. Draw a line and collect the floating pieces to make matches and keep the stack from reaching the top of the screen. The rules are a bit strange at first and the game takes some time to get used to, but once you learn the ropes you'll have a tough time tearing yourself away.

The screen is divided into two areas with the main action taking place on the right side. Gather groups of at least three pieces by clicking and dragging the mouse, almost like fishing. When you release the button, patterns of pieces on the left half of the screen (which will be shadowed) that match the pieces on your line will vanish, allowing the stack to fall and creating new groups to be eliminated.

A thin bar in the center of the screen slowly fills as you make matches. When it hits the top the music changes and a special "2nd art mode" is activated. During this time you can make matches using only two pieces, allowing you to make short work of the left-side stack. When the music hits its stride be sure you work as quickly as you can, as this can be the difference between a level-up or a game over!

As if the split screen puzzle action weren't unique enough, Micro Art includes a fun shop feature that tallies the pieces you've collected and lets you purchase items between sessions. Buy slower or faster pieces to customize your experience and make the game as intense as you can handle. All of your purchases and stats are saved between sessions, letting your quick coffee break rounds build into something more substantial.

Analysis: My first impression of Micro Art was one of confusion, frustration, and more confusion. I couldn't make sense of that rainbow-tinted line thing and its connection to the puzzle pieces on the left. Did someone leave out the instructions? After discussing the game with other JIG writers we managed to piece together a vague idea of how the game works. A few minutes later, I had it down to a science. And that's when the addiction began.

Once I knew how to play, Micro Art pulled me in like very few puzzle games have managed to do. The combination of quick-style rounds and active gameplay (as opposed to passive tile swapping) keeps you engaged at all times, and the shop system made me want to come back for more. The 2nd art mode keeps things lively, and not being penalized for losing keeps any sort of disappointment at bay. In short, Micro Art delivers one of the most completely enjoyable experiences of any puzzle game I've played. Ever.

Micro Art pulls your attention from the left to the right sides of the screen and forces you to think on your toes. The interesting fact is that the real matching game isn't in the gameplay, it's in matching what you collect on the right side with what exists on the left. In essence, the puzzle is in the game's design. And of course Game Pure infused Micro Art with an impeccable audio and visual presentation that screams "style" like few other games out there.

Micro Art is an extraordinarily addictive game that balances quick-style puzzle solving with a rewarding shop system to keep you coming back for more. Another excellent title from Game Pure!

Play Micro Art

16 Comments

I usually play the game before reading the review. It was a bit frustrating to find out how the game works, but it was worthy. Its a great game and a very original idea.
Thanks for the review John :)

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In a way it reminds me of Meteos in the sense that you can buy stuff and there the different blocks. Its quite a fun game :)

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Anyone else unable to connect to the site? I sure can't.

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It's working for me. =/

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Fun game. Although I didn't really like the music and frantic graphics all too much. I also didn't get what the point of the shop was or see a difference with the "2nd art mode" but I think I'll have to play a little more to figure it out.

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I didn't notice much change in the game play using the different tiles from the shop. But it was still quite addicting trying to unlock them.

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Moses Moore October 2, 2007 9:28 AM

I still don't get the game. I've tried making connections of two, three, four ... up to eight identical symbols, but it doesn't seem to affect the symbols on the left side. Well, the matching symbols on the right turn grey briefly while I'm making a combination, but finishing a combo (of three or four) while they're grey doesn't seem to do anything either.

Perhaps I should be trying to make a string that matches a vertical or horizontal line of symbols on the left side?

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After the 5th try, I gave up. Do you click on a piece and start dragging or click on the empty playfield then grab pieces? Neither one seemed to work for me. Eventually when I got a piece activated I couldn't get it to stop connecting to all the other pieces. I get the concept of the game, but the bizarre mechanics are too frustrating to deal with.

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Sorry, I don't get this one either...it's okay to have a learning curve, but a game that keeps flashing GAME OVER after the 8th or 9th turn just isn't fun to play.

I'm with the above poster -- I keep making connections of 3-4 symbols on the right, but ones on the left don't go anywhere...but up to the top of the screen.

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Essentially: collect any three (or more) tiles from the right hand side onto your rainbow line. (They don't have to match.) Then, any time those three tiles appear in a horizontal or vertical line on the left hand side, they're removed.

In 2nd art mode the minimum number becomes two rather than three.

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To anyone having trouble making matches: don't give up! Let's use the example in the image above. If I grabbed at least three white pieces on the line and released the button, all groups of three or more white pieces on the left would vanish. The two stragglers on the bottom right would stay, however. On the other hand, if I grabbed three smiley faces and released the mouse button, nothing would happen. Why? There aren't any groups of them on the left just yet.

To get really advanced, you can make groups of different pieces disappear as well. For example, grab a red triangle, then a white piece, then another red triangle and release the button. That exact pattern (which is in the lower right corner both horizontally and vertically) will vanish from the left. Nothing else.

In 2nd art mode you can match pairs of pieces, allowing you to get rid of groups of two on the left instead of three. That, my friends, is where the fun begins. You can really chop down the stack during this mode.

Sometimes the left side has practically no groups of three similar pieces to eliminate. In this case you'll have to use the advanced technique above, or hope you hit a 2nd art mode so you can match pairs.

obtusegoose: Start dragging in an open space, and when you want to grab a puzzle piece, use the very end of the line to catch it. Only the tip (where the cursor is) can grab more pieces, allowing you to squeeze around crowded areas to get the piece you want.

Sunny: That's exactly how I felt when I first started playing. Read the review to learn how the game works, then try it again. I promise the game isn't as hard as you might think!

Trust me, invest just a little time in the game (I know, I know!) and it WILL reward you. Hope all of this helps!

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I get it all now! The shop let's you change what "pieces" you use in the game (like you can use a white cat or white rice ball instead of the white face) and presumably they'll have different movement speeds (I think). 2nd art mode is triggered when the bar in the middle fills up *scrolls up and reads the review* oh...you said that already...lol.

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Moses Moore October 2, 2007 1:35 PM

Oh *I* get it now. It helped to play this on a slower machine to see the interactions between the two sides.

I look at the left-hand side for sequences of three symbols. (like square-circle-triangle stacked vertically, or circle-circle-square horizontally). On the right hand side, I click and drag the mouse over three symbols (only the pointer matters, the line doesn't interact with symbols it passes through). As you collect symbols, the left hand side helpfully shades the symbols that match your current collection (so if I have circle-circle collected, I can more easily see that I could collect a square next). Letting go of the button finishes the sequence, and if I have three symbols then the currently-shaded symbols are vanished from the left-hand side. If I have two or less symbols on the right-side, the shaded symbols on the left-side stay.

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Greatgame October 2, 2007 9:31 PM

Once you get the hang of it this is a rly great game. (oO)

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I would LOVE to see these guys design this for the DS. I would so be down with some crazy stylus-sliding action, and as the DS is a strong puzzle system already, I'm sure it would fit in nicely.

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It's kind of hard at first, but overall I think it's pretty cool. ;D

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