Critical Mass is a three-dimensional match-four puzzle game. The levels start with a Rubik's Cube-like shape approaching your screen. You can spin the shape around in any direction you like to find the right spot to place the random cube you're tasked with holding.
Whenever four or more of the cubes touch they disappear, pushing the shape a little further away from the screen. The goal is to make the entire shape disappear before it hits the screen while setting up combos to receive high scores.
Critical Mass was developed by Manic Games Studios, a team of two Australians, James Barrie and Matthew Edmondson.
It's hard to believe that there's any room left for another match-three or match-four game on the market, but by taking the familiar formula and making it three-dimensional, Manic Games Studios has created a new and dangerously addictive little package. Like most classic puzzle game, Critical Mass' gameplay couldn't get any simpler, but there is no end to how much you can improve your performance. You can spin the shape quickly, pulling off small combos in rapid-fire fashion, or spend your time aligning the pieces to take out half the shape in a single move. Way too easy to pick up, way too hard to put down, I know that I was in trouble when I started to see the colorful cubes even when I closed my eyes.
You're going to be playing this game a lot, and you'll eventually notice that there is no variety in the soundtrack. It's the same music, over and over again. It's not bad music, but if I'm going to be playing a puzzle game for hours on end I'd like a variety of tunes to go with it. This problem is easily solved by listening to your own music, or better yet, one of GamePro's podcasts.
You can play Critical Mass forever. Unfortunately, you'll probably stop only after going blind from staring at the screen without blinking for days.
The question isn't if it's worth your time. It clearly is. The real question is if, for less than a tenner, you're ready to spend every free second you have in front of your computer, dominated by Critical Mass. It might be a blasphemous comparison, but this is an obsession of mine that's nearing Tetris proportions.