You should be familiar with Pairs; the game in which you try to match up pairs of same-patterned tiles in as few moves as possible. The difference with AcChen for iPad is that all of the tiles are visible straight away, but you may only pick a pair that can be connected with a line that has no more than two right angles. Furthermore, you can’t connect a pair of tiles that is blocked by tiles on its other sides; and so you tend to work from the outside of the board inwards, depending on the layout.
In addition, the game features tiles that are stacked on top of each other, for a maximum total of three levels of tiles. The topmost tiles (and those in the middle) can be paired with those at the bottom and, unless they are blocked in by tiles on the same level, this makes them able to reach tiles that would otherwise be inaccessible from the bottommost level. It’s quite complicated to explain it but once you get your hands on the game it becomes immediately apparent what you must do.
Unfortunately, AcChen makes use of a timer which hopes to extend the game’s life by making you try to complete a level quickly in case you might miss something, then punishes you if you fail. Indeed, pairing tiles which have hourglasses floating above them earns you extra time which seems to suggest that the time allocated isn’t enough to begin with. Stacked pairs therefore can be a problem as you rush through and don’t consider the possibility of there being two sunflowers on top of each other until it’s too late; this happened on a number of occasions.
However, the timer makes perfect sense on the battle mode; a game in which you and a friend share the screen and try and make as many pairs as you both can within three minutes. The tiles rotate each time a pair is made and plays very well.
AcChen comes with a fairly large set of tiles although the set is simply expanded upon as you progress, adding a new tile here and there. It would have been nice to have randomised the tiles to get something new every time, but as the board layouts are different enough from each other that can be forgiven.
Overall, AcChen for iPad fits the bill as a fun Pairs style game. Its oriental-style presentation complements the gameplay well, although dropping the timer would have made it even better for us; additionally, adding in save game state would be very welcome.
Perhaps not the most innovative game, but a fun Pairs variant nonetheless. It’s cheap enough, too.
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