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Daily iPhone App: Pivvot mixes music and mayhem

I really have a thing for simple games. And I'm not using the word "simple" as a replacement for "easy." I just mean that if a game can teach me how to play it without having to explicitly explain how, I'm much more likely to enjoy my first experience with it. Pivvot is that kind of a game.

Part puzzle game and part rhythm game, Pivvot teaches you everything you need to know about it within the first 45 seconds of playing. You control a floating orb that is tethered to a long track. Your only input comes in the form of swinging your orb in one direction or the other in order to avoid various obstacles.

These obstacles are sometimes attached to one side of the track, prompting you to swing in the opposite direction, or spread across both sides with one side being impassable and the other being a tight, but necessary squeeze. If your orb touches one of these objects, it disintegrates in a multicolored explosion and you'll have to try it again.

There are two main modes of play, a checkpoint-based run where your progress is saved, or a more intense ride where the speed of the course ramps up quickly and a single failure sends you back to the very start. Regardless of which you choose, it's no cakewalk, and the "Expert" variations of both of these modes make things considerably harder. There's also a truly sadistic "Berserk" mode that throws a ton of obstacles at you at high speeds.

This core gameplay is satisfying in its own right, but what really makes Pivvot worth playing is its soundtrack. The techno tracks match the minimalistic art style perfectly and many of the obstacles twist or sway along with the beat, adding an additional layer of complexity. Playing the game with headphones is an absolute treat.

Pivvot makes it a point to say that the game features no in-app purchases whatsoever, which I can appreciate. However, the game does cost US$2.99 upfront, so it's a bit of a tradeoff. Still, the game is undoubtedly worth its asking price and if you're looking for an arcade-style thrill that is instantly accessible, Pivvot is for you.

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