Match Panic review

Match Panic review

Match Panic is one of the simplest games released this year, and it squeezes every bit of juice from its solitary mechanic. A column of icons descends down the middle of the screen; you must tap left or right to match the bottom icon to the ones that sit on either side of the screen to clear the column within a time limit.

It initially seems insultingly easy. And then Match Panic begins feeding your arrogance back to you, piece by delicious piece. Placing multiple icons on each side and switching them between each stage sets up your reflexes and short-term memory to bang straight into each other – something only exacerbated by the smooth descent of the column, which seems eager to fall as fast as you can let it.

On one hand Match Panic needs instant response; on the other, spotting patterns of left and rights lets you spam and shoot ahead. The few powerups are well worth their inclusion, rocketing you upwards or boosting time, and regular additions of new icons keep things from getting too comfortable. 

It's simple, simple enough that a Bishi Bashi Special minigame had the basic idea years ago, but Match Panic does brilliant things with it. Every time you think you've got a handle on its workings, something changes up and confuses you for just long enough that the wrong thumb falls. It's a one-trick pony, but you should really see what she does with it.


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