Caterpillar Review – Centipedes have more fun
Caterpillar is the latest game in the TikGames stable to be ported to the Minis platform. It’s a combination arcade and match-3 puzzle game, reminding me a little bit of Dynogems and a little bit of Numba.
There are four gameplay types. All are based around a large grid, 12 x 15, being full of colored blocks. You highlight one that happens to match 3 or more in a row or column (or both) and press the X button and poof, they disappear, all the the blocks that were supported by those fall down, thus setting up new possible matches. It’s pretty similar to Collapse!, only faster and the blocks being produced by the titular Caterpillar.
Classic mode has a Caterpillar start at the bottom row and quickly move his way up, leaving a trail of colored blocks. You need to quickly clean up after him before he reaches the top, and if you do it for long enough (about 50 seconds), you eventually finish that round. If you manage to keep him below a line about 2/3s of the way up, you qualify for a bonus round. In the bonus round, the grid is full of blocks and you just match all you can in about 20 seconds.
It’s pretty simple at first, because there are only three colors. But the little critter moves pretty fast. While I guess there is some strategy in theory, in practice, I just moved the cursor around and clicked randomly as fast as I could. The only real thing you need to do besides that is be sure to click on the powerup that destroys all the blocks of a given color.
Pairs is basically like Classic mode, except there are two Caterpillars dropping blocks, one at the top and one at the bottom of the screen. This is more difficult as you might imagine. Race has 12 different Caterpillars dropping bricks, but they each move vertically, but the column. As they race much much slower the gameplay isn’t that much different than the classic mode.
Conundrum is essentially a puzzle mode as found in other games of this type (for instance, Numba). Basically you are presented with the board already set-up in a pattern, and you need to figure out how to remove all the blocks. Of course, the catch is, they can’t all be removed right away, you have to rely on them falling to do so, so you have to figure out how to set these up.
Once you make your first move, it’s timed. So you have to think quick. There are a staggering 999 of these puzzles, so that’s enough to keep you busy for quite some time. You can either select where you want to start from, or have it pick randomly.
All the modes will save games where you left off (at least in terms of level) and it does keep a list of your best scores for each mode and difficulty level (there are 3). The sound effects and music are subtle, but cute.
You do get a good value for the money, especially given how many puzzles there are in Conundrum mode. But at the same time, I just don’t think the basic gameplay is all that fun in the arcade modes. It moves too fast for you to think, so basically you are reduced to clicking randomly. Dynogems does the Match-3 arcade thing much better.
So, I would only really recommend this for the Conundrum mode, if you like such things. I think Numba’s puzzle mode is better, but this has a lot more puzzles, so it balances out.