Skill for iPhone is a physics game that will surely remind users of the days gone by. You might even think it was built on the same engine as Pong. There seem to be a lot of games like these around, but few of them get it right in the ways that Skill does.
Skill Game Review
A simply and elegantly designed puzzle game, the goal of Skill is to land colored dots on their corresponding squares with a flick of your finger. New levels add new obstacles like lines that disappear after the first hit, and these challenges increase in difficulty as the game progresses, forcing the player to figure out the best trajectory for the colored dot, as well as the exact amount of force the shot will require for the dot to stop on its colored square.
This is not a game for the impatient. Skill requires perhaps more patience than actual skill, as players are required to calibrate and recalibrate their shots through trial and error. The controls can often feel dodgy, too, as the dots will sometimes go flying all over the board when you’ve barely touched them, but a strong flick might barely move them at all. Still, these instances seem limited and are most likely due to screens growing dirty, and thus unresponsive, rather than a fault of the actual game itself. Like most touchscreen-based games, Skill plays loads better when you’ve wiped down the screen.
It must be said that the satisfaction of getting it right comes off nicely, even in a game as simple as this. Skill plays a charming few notes to indicate your success and the next level is always a more challenging in an interesting way that makes you want to attempt it immediately instead of leaving it for another session.
And ‘charm’ actually expresses a lot about what’s right with this game. The clean white backdrop, the pleasant turquoise and periwinkle colors of the first dots you’ll interact with, the lack of any tutorial: Skill exudes a charming elegance. While the basic mechanics of the game will keep players concentrating on nailing their shots, the rest seems to designed specifically to help you relax after using your brain for too long.
The game’s music, a simple EDM-inspired tune looped incessantly, will certainly grate on the nerves after too many repetitions, but it’s still quite relaxing and catchy. I even found myself bobbing along to the beat after a few minutes of play. The combination of the simple and relaxing color scheme, as well as the fun laidback EDM beat, makes Skill feel a bit like gaming as therapy.
Skill may be too simple for mobile gamers looking for something more challenging or for a more complex challenge. A triple-A console port this is not. Skill’s simple and addictive design, it’s flash-inspired graphics and minimalistic soundtrack, contribute to making the game look, feel, and play like a browser-based time-waster. While it will certainly appeal to casual mobile gamers looking for a way to relax on the train home after a long day at work or school, or to children who want a fun and simple game to play on a long car ride, this is not a game for more experience gamers who will expect more depth and flashier graphics.
Otherwise, Skill’s addictive physics-based gameplay, the simple yet elegant aesthetic of its design, its trial and error progression, and its catchy theme will appeal to causal mobile gamers who need a simple game to relax with.