Alexey Pajitnov has never really left the games business, but few of his follow-ups to the worldwide hit sensation Tetris have made many headlines. Marbly, which has hit the iTunes App Store for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch, is slightly different, however. It is his first game designed exclusively for mobile devices.
Tetris was made most famous through its association with the Nintendo Game Boy handheld console in the late Eighties/early Nineties, being seen by many as the reason for that games machine's outstanding pick-up. But it was originally devised for use on a Russian machine, the Electronika-60, and then the PC, so not initially intended as a mobile game, regardless of its subsequent success on a portable platform.
Marbly, a game released almost 30 years after Tetris, is therefore Pajitnov's first that has been created totally with mobile gamers in mind.
Published by WildSnake Software, with which Pajitnov has been working for a while on games design, the iOS game can be downloaded free from the App Store now. It is a match-three game but with a twist, and plays a bit like marble solitaire in that you have to remove all balls from the board on each puzzle screen. But instead of leaping over marbles to remove them, you have to move similarly coloured marbles next to their compatriots, moving them along straight lines horizontally, vertically or diagonally. It's far easier to get to grips with than explain, to be honest.
Coins are earned by completing puzzles, and more sets of puzzles can be unlocked by spending them. There are also in-app purchase available, with hints, restarts, undos and even complete solutions in exchange for real cash.
WildSnake Software says this is only the start of Alexey Pajitnov's line-up for smartphones. It'll be interesting to see what he comes up with next.