Threes remains an outstanding puzzle experience, and many games have tried to replicate the formula. At first glance, the new iOS game Imago looks like Threes with neon coloring, but like a book, you shouldn’t judge a game by its App Store screenshots. Imago adds a couple portions of Threes, mixes in color matching, and sprinkles in path drawing for a relatively unique experience. The game begins with a grid of tiles with two colors, and either a one or two, and your goal is to drag tiles together to make matches. The color determines what can be matched, rather than the count, and you need to merge tiles into one big piece for that piece to explode back into smaller tiles with the new combined score total.
Imago features four game modes that progressively increase the difficulty, and you need to reach the target score of the previous mode to advance to the next mode. You begin with two colors and your goal is to combine four tiles to create a giant block, and a new mode adds a third color, and another mode adds mammoth blocks that merge two giant blocks. Your score can really amp up as you continually merge tiles, break them back down, and then combine again. The other twist in Imago is that there are restrictions on the movement of tiles, so that one block tiles can’t move past two, and two block tiles can’t move past four, and four block tiles can only move past blocks of the same type. The game is about moving through the matching edges of tiles, and as you drag a block through the grid of tiles, you can reposition other tiles to make matches, based on how your tile moves through.
There are a lot of subtleties in Imago, and yet it’s easy to get started with the new mechanics deliberately introduced, so you can stay on top of the nuances. Once you reach the fourth game mode, it just feels great to start to wrap your head around moving the tiles, and making the best matches. The best score will only be achieved by not only swapping tiles to make matches, but dragging the tiles through circuitous routes to make a few matches with one move. That’s because each mode gives you a limited number of moves, so you need to maximize your matches, and score potential with each move. It would be nice to see an endless mode without the move limitation. It’s a great puzzle mechanic with a fresh mix that will keep you engaged, and coming back. The game is presented with a highly polished design to let you be immersed, and focused on the evolving strategy of the puzzle mechanic.
Imago (Free, Universal) delivers a fresh new challenge that becomes engrossing as you figure out all of the subtleties making it well worth picking up. The game is free to play with video ads, and in-app purchases tied to buying additional moves, which might be necessary and a bit annoying when you’re trying to unlock a new mode.