OK, here's the scene: you're stranded with a handful of your best friends on some strange platforms suspended above an endless black abyss. You're understandably a little bit scared, all of you. You won't wander off onto a new platform unless you have at least one friend to go with you, and inevitably one of you chickens out and stays behind in relative safety—after all, they've seen some of the platforms drop away into nothing! Oh yeah, did I mention you're a creepy eyeball suspended in some weird gelatinous ooze?!?
Anyway, you come across a strange platform, one with a number on it. Some of your friends venture onto it, and once they equal the number on the sign, POOF! They disappear! You've found a teleporter! You gather your remaining friends and go off in search of another one, all of you silently wondering if maybe it wasn't a teleporter after all, but a slaughterhouse! There's only one way to find out...
So maybe that wasn't the exact thought process Matthew Dirks—yes, the very same guy who brought us Colour Connect—went through when he came up with the idea for Jelly Fusion. Still, he's managed to create a neat little puzzle game that is a welcome entry to our second competition. The game proceeds pretty much as described above: you try to get each of the goal spaces to contain the correct number of jelly blobs. The tricky part is the movement—you can only move blobs of 2 or more to a new space, and you'll always leave one behind. You CAN move single blobs, however, if there is already a blob at the destination. Also, there's a size limit on the blobs that changes from level to level, and if you exceed that limit, your blob a-splode!
Analysis:You should be able to zoom through Level 1, and if you're like me, you'll then promptly get stuck on Level 2. The learning curve is pretty steep—you'll need to pick up several different skills in order to pass Level 2, but once you do so, you'll be well-prepared for the rest of the levels. The blob movement is different than most games, and it may take you a few tries to get used to it, but it's also what sets this game apart from most puzzlers. Matthew does a good job of making you change strategies as you advance through the levels, so that the game doesn't become repetitive.
The visuals here won't impress anybody who has upgraded past Windows 95, but the audio is strangely appropriate. With the word Fusion in the title, you'd expect some sort of technoey goodness, but instead you are presented with a calming chimed melody that is augmented perfectly with the little "splish-splish" of the moving blobs. The overall effect is oddly satisfying, much like the game itself.