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Daily iPhone App: Alien Hive might help evolve your brain

I am not sure whether I like Alien Hive or not, and I'll explain why in just a second. But last week at GDC, whenever I had a free moment to play games on my iPhone, I found myself pulling out Alien Hive and playing yet again. So I think that's more than enough reason to recommend it to you here.

The game was described to me as a match-3, and I guess it kind of is, in only that you need to match three items of a certain type to earn points. But in practice, it's much more like Triple Town than Bejeweled. This is a slower-paced, thinking man's game, where you need to make your moves more carefully. You get a board with various tiles on it and one empty space, and you can slide tiles horizontally or vertically, trying to make a match to evolve your tiles up into the next type. Tiles fall into the categories of plants or aliens, and matching up plant tiles earns you more moves, which allows you to keep your gaming going along.

I'm not sure I like Alien Hive yet because apparently I'm not very good at it. The aliens on the board start out as little eggs, and matching them together evolves them up into more and more complex creatures, with you eventually unlocking a full hatchery of different alien types. But despite all of my playtime, I haven't unlocked a single higher-level alien. I do feel like I'm progressing in terms of finding matches and lining them up, but apparently I haven't even really started up the game's progression curve.

Part of the problem is probably that the game involves "boosts," where you can spend a certain amount of earned currency to give you items or abilities that help you move things along. But I hate boosts as a player, so I really haven't spent any money on them, and that could be what's holding me back.

At any rate, despite my issues with boosts as a mechanic and despite my inability to actually evolve any aliens, I'm enjoying Alien Hive -- I like that the game requires some thought despite the relatively simple mechanics. Hopefully sooner or later here I'll figure out the trick to evolving my aliens (and hopefully it won't just be to spend more money on boosts). If you want to join me, Alien Hive is available for free.

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