A sunny day at the beach practically mandates a big, colorful umbrella to keep sunburn at bay. In the challenging new puzzle game Parasols, by marmar // serious apps for serious fun, the beach crowd appears to have completely forgotten theirs on the beach by the dozens.
Concept and Functionality
Parasols is a puzzle game with a rather unique conceit. Every level is presented as a spread of parasols, and each parasol is divided into four quadrants each of which is painted a different color. Every level has a four-color palette that appears randomized each time you play.
By tapping a parasol, you will cause it to rotate 90 degrees. Any time you rotate a parasol to where a given quarter’s color matches an adjacent parasol, both disappear.
As each tap only rotates the parasol in the clockwise direction, you must plan out your rotations as you may target one adjacent umbrella only to trigger off of one of the other directions unexpectedly. With a little forethought, you can set up arrangements to have two, three, or even all four adjacent parasols clear out at once.
On a given pairing, the second umbrella will complete one turn before disappearing and this can easily result in chain reactions that will trigger multiple clears at the same time. As every level has a timer and a set number of taps you’re allowed, you’ll quickly come to rely on these chain reactions to complete the level in the allotment given.
One key issue that cropped up during our test is that this app appears to be coded for different screen sizes on a size-by-size basis instead of using any kind of scaling code.
We were able to play it on our 5.2” Moto X and Samsung GS4 but unable to play it on a Nexus 7, instead being greeted with a popup warning stating they’ve logged the issue. This represents a major hurdle in enjoying this game as there’s no telling which resolutions or screen sizes it will work on from the app’s Google Play Store entry, although there is a note stating that a screen width of 768 is supported and you will get an alert if your screen size is not supported.
There are three difficulty levels presented and each one ups the stakes considerable. The beginner level will give you a 3×3 grid which is actually deceptively tricky to manage. Given you only have 9 parasols, you have to set up a chain reaction or multiple clear to be able to complete the level.
The Intermediate level gives you a 5×5 play area, but it randomly assigns a pattern to the parasol grid which can leave empty space or disconnect one half from the other. The expert level raises this to 7×7 and again, the patterns are given at random making it that much more difficult.
Your score for each difficulty is tracked based on how quickly and completely you clear the level and we liked that we could challenge ourselves to complete them faster or more thoroughly to up this score.
If you’re planning on using this game on your phone, the value here is unmistakable; we thoroughly enjoyed the rather unique mechanics of the puzzles presented in Parasols.
That being said, the device compatibility issue is a serious detriment to this being a great game app. We strongly encourage the developer to work on accommodating more screen sizes and especially those for tablets.
Parasols requires Android 4.0+. A small expedite fee was paid to speed up the publication of this review.
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