Dream of Pixels may be pretty darned aptly named, because Dawn of Play's luscious iOS arcade puzzler is all sorts of beautifully surreal and dreamy. Best described as "sort of like Tetris, only backwards and purdy", the game features two modes. In one, a wall of blocks slowly lowers from the ceiling, and you're given shapes to pick out from it to clear lines and keep it from reaching the bottom as long as possible. In the other, you're faced with no time limit, but a limited number of shapes and a structure that has to be fully dismantled before you use them all. With a rich design and addictive, simple yet challenging gameplay, Dream of Pixels is the sort of casually engaging action your touch screen device was made for.
Gameplay is simple, but by no means easy. In arcade mode, shapes will appear at the top of the screen, and tapping on the grid of descending blocks will allow you to select and remove that shape as long as it fits within the section you're touching, and has room to fall. You can tap and drag to rotate the shape as you wish. Clearing a line keeps the wall from reaching the bottom, and will also move any pieces of the wall that may have been "stranded" by isolating them from the structure when you removed other shapes around them up one space to get closer to reattaching and enabling you to remove them. Remove several lines at once to get bigger bonuses, and keep going as long as you can in search of the almighty high score.
Puzzle mode, by contrast, is more relaxing but no less tricky. Each level gives you a different structure. You've got a finite number of shapes in a row at the top of the screen, and all the time in the world to pick and choose how to best use them to completely remove the shape in front of you. The catch is that shapes have to be used in order, and can't be used more than once, so you'll have to carefully plan each movement. If you mess up, just tap the little arrow in the upper right corner of the screen to undo your last movement.
Despite how frantic its arcade gameplay can get by design, something about Dream of Pixels just makes you want to go "Aaaaah" and sink back into your favourite comfy gaming spot. It's such a simple idea, and yet the lovely, colour-shifting visuals combined with the easy to pick up gameplay makes it something you can play for a long, long time without realising it, or anytime you have a spare minute or thirty to fill. The game lacks any sort of real variation to it, for the most part, and certain colours (usually in the puzzle stages) can blur and bleed together to the point where rotating and identifying where your shape is sitting can be a challenge. But if you're looking for visually stunning and effortlessly addictive arcade puzzle gameplay, Dream of Pixels is easily recommended and heartily endorsed.
NOTE: This game was played and reviewed on an iPad (First Generation). Game was available in the North American market at the time of publication, but may not be available in other territories. Please see individual app market pages for purchasing info.