There’s no shortage of colored block puzzle games on the iPhone, but Shibuya stands out from its brethren. Whereas most color-matching puzzlers are defined by their intuitive “pick up and play” nature, Shibuya goes for a unique gameplay system that will have you spending a good amount of time practicing the basics.
Empty horizontal bars fall from the top of the screen, stacking up in a Tetris-style “well.” A series of colored squares in the upper left indicate which colors can be placed in the bars by touching them. You must go in the color order dictated by the squares, but you can choose any bars onscreen as they fall. The object is to line up two or more bars of the same color, and make them vanish by tapping them once they’re settled in place. Getting your mind around the concepts at play is a little tough at first, but once you get the idea, you’ll start formulating strategies that reach further and further into the future.
The challenge of any puzzle game is, of course, in topping your previous performance. Shibuya offers Quickplay mode for score attack and Endless mode for endurance runs, but other than the timer they don’t differ much. Numerous speed options for the falling bars keep the game accessible to new players and tough for veterans. Achievements can be unlocked by accomplishing preset tasks. The game keeps a handy checklist of each achievement’s set of goals and ticks them off as you meet them.
Shibuya is available now on Apple's App Store at the special launch price of 99 cents.