Twiddle is a paddle ball game app, in which you must destroy blocks with a bouncing ball while keeping the ball in play and racking up as many points as possible. The retro-tech savvy will immediately recognize Twiddle’s similarities to classic games Pong and Arkanoid. The addition of blocks which appear and disappear at random really adds a level of difficulty that makes Twiddle a challenging diversion. Things get even more interesting with the inclusion of special blocks and giant boss blocks. Compare your high scores against the entire world!

OVERthree has given the app a fun, colorful  look and just the right blend of fun and difficulty to keep you coming back for more. For the most part, your paddles slide smoothly up and down the left and right sides of the screen. Things can get a bit slippery after 15 minutes of finger oils building up on the screen, but Twiddle’s control scheme is very simple and intuitive. When you start up the app, check out the gameplay button, which explains the various blocks. Some specialty blocks give you extra lives and extra balls, some speed things up, and one even warps your ball to a random spot. Challenge blocks have a number on them and need to be hit that many times before they trigger a challenge boss fight. These boss fights aren’t as retro-epic as they sound, you just have to hit the giant block 10 times in 60 seconds. If you win, it’s off to level two and more points, but if you fail, it’s game over, no matter how many lives you have!

The controls may be super easy to learn, but it takes some skill to get an online high score. It does a really good job of ramping up the challenge to meet you where you’re at. If things are too easy for you until level 3 or 4, you can increase the starting speed in the settings section. Or, if you’re getting punked on the boss fights, try freeplay mode, where there are no levels and you just have to worry about the speed increasing. You can pause the game by tapping the scoreboard at the top of the screen, if you’re fast enough. It’s nearly impossible to pause without dying when the pace gets to it’s peak. I also felt like the paddles were delayed in responding to my touches immediately after unpausing the game. It wasn’t a big deal, but it did cause a death or two.

There aren’t any other options under the settings mode, but for a game this simple, it’s really not a big deal. The in-game music and sounds go right along with the gameplay, with all heavily synthesized and industrial sounds. It’s actually something I didn’t get tired of, even after a few hours of gameplay. But as always, an update with iPod support would be appreciated. I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised with Twiddle. It’s one of those games I could go back to years from now and still have fun playing. 

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