Power Chips/High Roller, by MacPlay
Posted: 21-Dec-2003

4 1/2 out of 5 Mice

Vendor: MacPlay Type: COMMERCIAL

Reviewer: Jim Melton Class: GAMES

Overview
This CD is a collection of two games: Power Chips, and High Roller.


Power Chips Screen

Power Chips
Power Chips borrows heavily from Super Collapse with a Vegas motif; Poker chips of different denominations fall from the top of the screen. Clicking on groups of three or more of the same color/denomination results in the group being removed from the board and your account is credited with the value of the removed chips. The catch is that each level has a certain number of groups that can be removed, so some planning to get large groups of high denomination coins is required for the best score. At higher levels, new chips are introduced (such as bonus chips, nuke chips and wildcard chips), and the starting layout is higher (closer to the foul line). The game ends when one of the columns of chips crosses the foul line.


High Roller Screen

High Roller
High Roller is also a group-matching game, this time with a dice motif. In the case of High Roller, though, the playing area is always full. Any die on the playing area may be swapped with an adjacent one to form a group of 3 or more (but groups must be linear, not "L"-shaped or diagonal). Again, each level has a fixed number of groups, and the number of groups increases with each level. Also in this game, higher number dice give a better score, but getting 10 groups in a row with very little time between groups results in a speed bonus that can dwarf the difference in value between low numbered die and higher numbered ones. A final twist is the addition of a seventh die, the star. Six groups of stars on a level results in another bonus (that can be earned multiple times). The game ends when no moves are possible.

Both games also have a "time attack" mode, where a bonus is given for remaining time from a counter at the end of each level. Each group matched puts time back on the clock, so speed is of the essence.

These are arcade style games that are best played in full screen mode. I did notice some minor desktop disturbance after quitting a full screen game, but nothing more than a minor irritation. Power Chips is the kind of game where the chips keep falling whether you are ready or not, so even in "normal" mode, it can be an adrenaline pumper. High Roller allows for a variety of game play; from careful, contemplative puzzle solving, to all out beat-the-clock heart racing action. For this reason, it is my favorite of the two.

I took these games with me on a recent family vacation to Grandma's house. The entire family, from my 5-year-old daughter to the adults found High Roller to be engrossing. We had to take turns to keep everyone satisfied. For the little one, I can rationalize the activity as developing pattern matching and spatial reasoning. For the rest of us, it is just a very enjoyable game.

The minimum requirements for these games are OS X 10.1.5 with 128MB of RAM and an OpenGL-compatible video card. I tested them on a 1GHz G4 Powerbook and they performed flawlessly. The graphics are colorful and well done, with 3D-ish aqua effects on a 2D game board. Likewise, the sound effects and music backgrounds are appropriate, adding a nice touch to these fun and addicting games.

Summary
High Roller and Power Chips are easy to understand and to play. These are stable games with intuitive, easy-to-use interfaces, but most of all, they are a lot of fun. Between the two games and their different modes, it is very likely that everyone will find something that appeals to them.

Pros

  • Straightforward arcade-style play
  • Different game-playing styles allowed
  • Full-screen mode
  • OS X native

Cons

  • No OS 9 version
  • Desktop disturbance caused by full-screen mode


Overall Rating

4 1/2 out of 5 Mice