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Add 'Em Up

Score: 85%
ESRB: Not Rated
Publisher: Blue Bug Games
Developer: Blue Bug Games
Media: CD/1
Players: 1
Genre: Puzzle/ Strategy

Graphics & Sound:

Add 'em Up has some nice, clean graphics. The look and feel reminds me a lot of the Windows XP design with its rounded cornered tiles and bright colors. I found myself pleased (visually) with the style of each board (whether it was a normal board or one of the more unusual patterns found in the Puzzle Mode).

Music? There isnít any in this game. I found the silence a bit disheartening. If nothing else, I was expecting to hear some white noise that would help me relax as I tried clearing the boards. But alas, there isnít even that. The sound effects for when you place pieces or clear tiles are there, although theyíre short and fleeting. Yet I canít be too hard on the game. No music is better than horrible music, and at least this way I can pop in a CD and play something else.


Gameplay:

Add 'em Upís gameplay is based on a simple concept. You are given a board of random digits (between 0 and 9), and you have to clear the board. How do you do that? You pull tiles off of your queue on the right and place them on the board. It and all of the tiles it touches clear if those other tiles add up to the number you just placed (or if the sum of those numbers is two digits -- then the number in the oneís place has to equal the tile you just placed). For example, if I have a 5 that I need to place, then I can put it on the board next to a 3-tile and a 2-tile, or a 9-tile, 4-tile, and a 2-tile because they (9, 4, and 2) sum up to 15 and the number ends in 5 and all of those tiles will disappear.

In each level, you get six special moves. You can choose to blow up an entire area, remove all tiles of a certain number, reload your pending queue so that you have a new set of random numbers to use, randomly change all of the remaining tiles, or undo the last move.

Classic Mode challenges you to clear the board within a certain number of moves. Your score is based off of the number of tiles you clear per placement and the number of moves it took you to clear the board. Practice Mode is just like Classic Mode, except you donít have to worry about score, number of moves, or anything like that. Here you can refine your skills and strategies at your own pace. Panic Mode pits you against the clock as you try to clear the board in less time than the current high score holder. Puzzle Mode puts the initial tiles in specific patterns, and allows you to only place tiles in certain places. And on top of all that, you are given a limited number of each tile.


Difficulty:

Add 'em Up has five levels of difficulty, ranging from very easy to very hard for the Practice, Classic, and Panic Modes. Each level gives you more tiles and harder patterns to get rid of. On top of that, each time you best yourself in Panic Mode, the difficulty increases (only because you are now trying to beat a quicker time).

Puzzle Mode has more than 55 boards, and each one is more difficult than the last. Each level requires you to use more strategy in your placements so that you can clear the board with your limited supply of tiles. You can also turn on or off the Hints and Tips for each of the above mentioned modes.


Game Mechanics:

Add 'em Up uses a simple point-and-click interface. All you have to do is drag the next numbered tile out of your queue and place it on the board in the desired location. And to make it easier to figure out which tiles have to sum up to the correct number, when you are hovering over a location, a red square appears around the nine tiles that will be affected.

Add 'em Up adds strategy to a seemingly simple concept. This game is fun for both kids (refining their adding skills) and older gamers who are just looking for something to take their mind off of work. This game belongs next to classic desktop games like Collapse, Bejeweled, or Zuma.


-J.R. Nip, GameVortex Communications
AKA Chris Meyer

Minimum System Requirements:



Windows 98SE/MR/NT/2000/XP, 350 MHz or Higher processor, 5MB Hard Drive space, 128 MB RAM
 

Test System:



Toshiba Satellite series laptop, Windows XP Home Ed., 2.0 GHz Celeron, 1 GB RAM, 24X DVD/CD-ROM, 32 MB 3D accelerator

Windows PlanetSide: Aftershock Windows Paradoxian

 
Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated