Pebble Universe is sort of a puzzle game which requires a good sense of timing and a disdain for floating, black, one-eyed, skull things. The game comes with three worlds with 25 levels each, and touts a new world “coming soon” in the line-up.
The backdrop for the first world (the Forest) is a nice grassy scene with hills, bouncy pebble dudes and some interesting plants. Even though the mission of the pebble people is to collide with each other and smash themselves to bits, they seem rather happy about it.
Odd, but to each his own.
How does it work?
The basic game play is easy; tap a pebble to start it rolling downhill. For the first few levels, all you need to do is tap a pebble on each side of the screen so they roll toward each other and impact under your intended target. Later levels provide a pinwheel you can tap to add a bit of acceleration to your pebble. It doesn’t make the bang any bigger, but it can change the point of impact or help you jump a gap.
The game will also award you extra points if you can hit the minions before taking out the chief (sometimes wears a crown). It won’t always be as easy as aiming for the middle; after a few levels, the chief may start moving around (granted, it’s in a repeating pattern), or the whole cluster of floating heads may move so you have to time your releases carefully. You will also get better pebbles as you go, like larger pebbles for a bigger bang and a “sniper” pebble which provides fewer fragments that fly straighter and higher to hit the targets at the top of the screen.
Is it contagious?
Pebble Universe is just challenging enough to be good for the kids and the grown-ups. Some levels are easy enough for the first time player to nail right away. Other levels may require a couple of attempts to get the timing just right; a bit reminiscent of the old school games that required as much pattern memorization as hand-eye coordination. Besides, the levels are made for the short attention span set; short enough to make a re-do no big deal, but enough of something accomplished to keep you moving through the levels.
All in all, this game is not a bad diversion for a few minutes.