Rovio Stars will continue to ride on the Angry Birds wave for years to come, and a huge part of their success stems from taking a seemingly cute concept but putting a crafty and addicting spin to the proceedings. Juice Cubes is another attempt to navigate similar waters and draw even more iOS gamers into their free to play web. They may not have aviary skills, but these juice cubes have their own distinct flavor.

Juice Cubes is not a puzzle title that needs ramp building or has you swinging from place to place. Your eyes and fingers travel to a land filled with blocks, and the goal is to drag a finger and connect as many of these same colored cubes as possible. Like Candy Crush Saga, there are specific goals set within each stage, and if you don't meet the criteria within a fixed number of moves, the game is effectively over. During your first 10 levels of play (there are a total of 165 challenges), you'll fly by each section, maybe faltering a few times. Don't be discouraged by the relative ease of the initial stages, since it gets much more difficult as you progress.

Select cubes will have an explosive inside the fruit and once they're ignited several sections of your board be cleared off, thus increasing your overall score. Although this power up is great during the first few rounds, these explosives must be properly used when you're trying to connect your last group of cubes. An obliteration of several blocks at a time may lead to losing a few cubes that you'll need to connect with a final stray cube to finish the puzzle.

My only slight complaint is Juice Cubes will give you a few hints if it takes you over several seconds to link up a few cubes. As you're concentrating on the board, several cubes will flash in unison, giving you an easy way out. Although I love the bright, vibrant colors of the app, seeing them pop up incessantly when I'm trying to think is a slight annoyance.

Thankfully there is no headache when it comes to the title's freemium mechanic. Although you can't play Juice Cubes hours on end without paying for a few premiums, you can put down your app for a few minutes and let your energy (they're called hearts in the game), replenish. When you finish a level, Rovio will also throw up an advertising window plugging one of their apps to download. It's a form of promotion which subtly fits into the game's fabric, and it's not even close to being a nuisance.

There's nothing incredibly dynamic about Juice Cubes, but it's still a solid and engaging app to pick up. Since it also gives a ton of puzzles to explore as a free to play experience, it's a download that won't dent your pocketbook. Eventually you may want to spend a couple of bucks if you are too impatient for your hearts to refresh, but it's really not necessary. Juice Cubes is another winning release from Rovio, and if it motivates you to put a few healthy slices of fruit in your freezer, all the better.


App Store Link: Juice Cubes for iPhone & iPad | By Rovio Stars Oy | Price: Free | Version: 1.07.12 | 41.2 MB | Rating 4+

7.5 out of 10 arcade sushi rating