Commuting Cognition: Rainbonauts

What is this?

I’ve never been a big mobile game player, but I ended up working in a mobile games company (opinions are my own etc), so I’ve been trying to expose myself to more games in this market and attempt to gain an ever-better understanding of them. One of the ways I’ve been doing that is in trying out new games, seeing what they do wrong and right, and try to draw conclusions from them that I can use in the future to make our games better. One of the resources I’ve been using for this is TouchArcade (not sponsored), and their columns listing the new iOS games of the week.

This resulted in me playing a lot more new games during my daily bus rides, but I also feel the need to discuss them somewhere and keep a log of my thoughts instead of just internalising them. So, Commuting Cognition. These will be brief, bus-ride-long thoughts on these games, and should be seen less as reviews and more as first-impression brain dumps. They also may not be daily, depending on how full the bus is that day.



Rainbonauts mashes Tetris with Pipe Dream to make something pretty unique.

Pieces slowly fall from the top of the screen; you can swipe to move them left and right on the grid, tap to rotate them, or swipe down to make them fall. These pieces are pipes, as well as pipe endings (clouds) and beginnings (suns). The goal is to score a set amount of points each level, which is done by connecting suns with clouds; each connecting piece will be destroyed and grant you one point.

There are very few types of pieces, at least in the early levels i played, so my experience was to do the exact same strategy over and over again on each level. That became dull rather quickly, despite the fact that i did enjoy the mechanic. I think it may have been a mistake to start off with completely empty levels instead of having fixed pieces you need to connect to, as was the case in the tutorial level; it’s very possible this is addressed in later levels, but it’s too slow a start if that’s the case.

Additionally you start off with three skills, all of which are locked and remained so during the time i played. Seems needlessly tantalising to immediately start with them revealed instead of only gaining them at the point where they’d be unlocked.

Corner pieces also had a tendency to land slanted and correct themselves when another piece connected with them, which was really distracting.

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