Each game mode has unique gameplay and is polished enough to be a separate title in their own right. Let’s start with the classic mode, much like other match-3 games, your objective is to group 3 or more birds together to eliminate them from the play field. Instead of the usual swap mechanic though, you can pick up any exposed bird and drop it in any column. Match 4 or more and you get a supercharged bird, the more you add the more powerful the effect. The brilliant thing here is that matches will stay on screen for a moment before disappearing giving you just enough time to add more. If you’re quick and you can manage a group of 7 or more you’ll be awarded with a black hole bird which clears the whole play field regardless of how many birds are stacked there. Every few seconds a new layer of birds drops in from above and the game ends when there is no more room for new birds to fall. Levels increase as you gain points making the new birds drop in faster but also increasing the points you gain from matches. When you break through level 10, birds start appearing with locks on them, requiring 2-3 matches to eliminate them from play.
Pandora mode is the main event and it’s kind of like a blitz option. You start the round with 90 seconds on the clock and of course, once time runs out, it’s game over. Amongst the birds are blocks with the letters of the word Birzzle, these can’t be moved and can only be destroyed with powered up birds. When you do destroy them though, you’ll receive a variety of bonuses such as extra time and bombs or obstacles such as wooden blocks that get in your way and can’t be matched. Collecting all the letters of Birzzle gives you chance at getting a more powerful bonus, large chunks of time, or advanced levels to increase your point scoring potential. Unlike the classic mode, new birds enter from the bottom and only when there’s room for them, the faster you match the more opportunity you get. Pandora mode has that ‘one more turn’ quality that keeps you coming back for more and you always end a round feeling you can achieve more.
The final game mode is Ice Break, and this is like playing an entirely different game. Unlike the other modes, you can’t move birds once they’re on the play field, you can only drop one bird at a time. The first two rows are submerged in water and while you can match here you’ll need to focus on the area above. Your objective is to clear all the ice blocks above the water line by making matches adjacent to them. When all the ice is cleared, a new wave pushes up from below and you gain an additional 20 seconds. Scattered throughout the ice there are bonuses like extra time and bombs to help you along. You’ll also find golden eggs which add to your final score and may have something to do with a secret game mode apparently only found in Ice Break. Large groups are a little harder make here but with a little strategy, still possible.
The graphics are bright and cheery, crisp and well defined. The powered up birds all look fantastic when they’re set off. The birds look a little like they’ve been smuggled in with very small boxes but I only noticed this briefly. Backgrounds look nice and don’t distract the eye. The only problem I found was the screen could seem a little crowded at times, especially in Pandora mode with all the extra effects going off all at once, sometimes even breaking the game flow. Sound effects are nothing special but they’re not bad either, they’re fun and most important to me, they don’t get annoying. There are some nice little touches when using power-ups but it’s not really atmospheric.
Social media integration is included in the option menu but I wasn’t able to link to my Facebook account. I’m not sure if this is a bug or just a feature they’re still working on. However, Game Center works just fine, you can compare your scores with your friends and if you want to be demoralized you can take a look at the global scores. Aside from the social media problem though, this is a solidly built application, I have experienced no crashes to date.