Concentrix v1.1.1 for Pocket PC

Reviewed by: Lianne Reitter, August 2004, send e-mail
Published by: eSoft Interactive, go to the web site
Requires: Compatible with all ARM/XScale-based Pocket PCs
MSRP: $9.95

So how many years ago is it anyway that Tetris was first introduced? I seem to remember that it had achieved 'standard game' status by the time I first started using computers in 1992. We all know the game and have all been frustrated by it too no doubt, so much so that we can spot a pretender right off the bat. Not only can we spot one, but usually we are quickly bored by it because it is really too much like the original. Not so with Concentrix.

The idea of Concentrix is very similar to Tetris; fit shapes together in such a way that you complete a line and that completed line disappears and you get points. Where Concentrix differs is in both the dynamics of the playing objects and their interaction with the playing field.

In Concentrix the playing field is circular with the objects—sections of rings—emanating from the center and expanding toward the circumference. Like Tetris these ring sections can be positioned anywhere in the playing field and where Tetris allows you to turn the falling blocks, Concentrix allows you to completely reconfigure the ring sections. Your ring section may start out as a long single half circle, but it can also be turned into four aligned 1/8 sections, rotated in increments as it's expanding. A section that begins as a 1/8 piece on top of a 3/8 piece can be reconfigured three different ways. This keeps you on your toes because you have only a limited amount of time to decide which configuration you are going to go with and where you are going to place it. So you get the gist; it’s like Tetris, but it’s not.

Concentrix is also more than just one game—it's eight games in one. OK I admit it's the same game with different objectives. But the programmers have done a superb job of manipulating the objectives and the game play in a manner that is both addictive and absorbing. You can play games that require you to complete whole rings before they disappear or games in which you have to match colored sections. It all sounds so similar doesn't it? So simple. Where Concentrix turns away from the ordinary is in the fact that each playing piece—while you change its configuration and orientation—is also changing in size. So you may think you know where the piece will fit, but just as you are sure, the piece grows one size more and you realize how wrong you were and your strategy has to quickly change.

So, we started out thinking “Tetris Clone” but we actually have a like-minded game with a circular playing field and game pieces that change in orientation, configuration and size. The last dynamic that further separates this game from being just another Tetris clone is that the ring sections are not static in every Concentrix game. In most of the eight games they will break away from each other as they meet up with ring sections already in place. Concentrix, once you get into it, is a far more intricate, dynamic and challenging game. Tetris players will find Concentrix to be just as addictive and probably even more fun. Players who are new to this sort of game will also be drawn into the strategy and quick decision making needed to beat each of the games in the set.

This is a great time waster. The graphics are very well designed, clean and easy on the eyes, allowing you to play for hours (or at least until your PDA battery needs recharging). Definitely worth the low purchase price. Recommended.

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