Review: Sand Slides

Sand Slides is a game for the iOS developed by Logik State. Released in 2010, the game requires the player to draw slides in order to direct sand into different buckets. The snag is that the sand comes in a number of colours, and must be corralled into its corresponding bucket in order to earn points. As the sand drops faster and faster, it becomes increasingly hard to direct it all to the right place- and every grain counts. At £1.65, the game has proved a fairly popular choice- and its page on Facebook has a following of around 700.

The first thing that strikes you about Sand Slides is that it’s a very slick, well-produced game. With its tense music and cool ocean backdrop, it’s looking and sounding nice- and the sand and buckets are all shiny and well-animated. With a number of different game modes as well, this game really looks the part when you get it loaded up.

The concept is fairly basic, and not as unique as Logik State make out- it’s one of these games that relies on drawn elements to influence on-screen objects. It’s not new, but it is a fairly interesting way to play, and could easily lead to pretty complex gameplay. Logik State have designed the game using their unlimited particle engine, which makes sure that the whole operation is run smoothly and realistically.

The problem is that once you get past all the bluster, this is a game about dropping sand into buckets. Yes, the production values are excellent, and the stage is set for an amazing game experience- but Logik State disappoint you at the last minute by ignoring the most crucial factor: making the game itself fun to play. Actually, the gameplay is disappointingly basic- the sand drops periodically from the top of the screen, and that’s all. You can’t draw more than a handful of slides at a time, so your options are fairly limited. The extra game modes are nothing but longer and shorter versions of the same process and add nothing to the gameplay, despite having tantalizing names like ‘Brutal’ mode and ‘Insane’ mode.

There is nothing to bring you back to Sand Slides after playing it once, because the same thing happens in every game. There are no bombs or enemies to trip you up, so there’s no element of chance, just a monotonous chore that lasts for a certain number of rounds. Even the scoring system fails to add purpose, since it’s difficult to track and hard to understand.

To sum up

It’s a great shame, but for all its excellent design and great production, this is a game that I would struggle to play more than once. Logik State have truly put the cart before the horse, creating a game which prioritizes its appearance over its actual gameplay. Much as I admire their efforts, I can’t recommend Sand Slides to anyone- especially when you could get so many more playable games for free. Time flies when you’re having fun, but when sand slides you probably won’t be.

4/10

Author: James Harle

A resident of darkest Devon, most of James’s writing is emailed directly from a haunted mansion out in the sticks. A big fan of being entertained, he’ll turn to any format to get his fix; films, television, graphic novels, games or even literature. He’s currently reading Kazuo Ishiguro’s A Pale View of Hills, Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita and the Book of Deuteronomy in tandem. James has eaten human remains before, but never intentionally.

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    Never played Tetris huh?

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