Price: $0.99    Score: 10/10    Genre: Games

Of all the games on any platform, Atlantis: Magic Smileys is one of the best I’ve ever played for $.99. That’s not to say that the game is worth only a dollar, but that it’s seemingly worth much more than that, and perhaps one of the finest steals available in the app store to date.

In fact, this is one of the most engagingly user friendly games I have played on the iPad so far; the type of game that appeals to both puzzle solvers and those who prefer the kind of fast paced play that makes your heart rush with fast finger flicks and near explosions.

The HD experience brings a group of cute, multicolored Magic Smileys to Plato’s legendary island of Atlantis. As the omniscient player with a birds eye view, it’s your responsibility to link same color groups of three to eliminate all of the smileys of that color, compressing the size of the circle little by little until it disappears. If you’re not fast enough to keep in with smileys swooping in from all angles, the growing civilization will exceed the size of the island and all your characters will drown. Link them all though, and you’ll find yourself sailing through the fifty island levels of Atlantis. (When I say sailing I am referring to the boat that takes you from level to level and island to island, not implying that the game is easy.)

As you advance through the levels the landscape changes from tropical island to polar region, and then finally takes you to a volcano-like lava island. More colors join in to make the game more difficult and smileys start flying in at rapid fire rates, but throughout, the touch controls that spin your emotive smileys around stays reliably the same.

Specific trophies begin to pop up and lifelines are sometimes rewarded in the form of lightening bolts or snow storms that slow the game down significantly so you can get your bearings straight and get a hold of the growing island population before the stressed out smileys exceed island capacity and fall into the water.

I would have liked to have seen the smiley faces rotate with me when I move into landscape mode, but that’s hardly a complaint. Other than that, Atlantis: Magic Smileys has it all. Great graphics, reliable spin wheel game control response, cute (but not too cute) characters, and an addictive premise. It took me 80% of an iPad charge to beat the entire game and I was so hooked I did it all in one day. The game also packs a “play as long as you can” survival mode which is a nice mini-game alternative to the Atlantis islands world.

Bottom Line: Atlantis: Magic Smileys is exceedingly cute, exceedingly fun, and worth every penny and then some. For the quick buck, we give it a 10/10

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