A unique premise, challenging and addictive gameplay and a retro-modern art style combine to make Just Fillin' a great choice for iPhone/iPod Touch owners looking for an action-puzzle game. Just Fillin' turns your device into a virtual fish tank with some water in it. Your goal is to fill the tank with bubbles and cause the water to rise to the top while avoiding "spikeys" that move around the tank.
Bubbles are created by simply touching the screen and will grow when as you hold your finger down, earning more points. Your bubbles can be popped by spikeys while being inflated and will become only become solid when you release your finger. If all your bubbles get popped you will be given the chance to continue up to three times, though your score is reset upon each retry. Read More…
You are given a set number of bubbles to clear each stage with, so the ability to dodge spikeys while inflating is crucial. This can be done by dragging bubbles around the screen as they are being inflated. You can also trap spikeys underneath or in between inflated bubbles.
This technique is aided by the ability to tilt the tank back and forth and becomes a required survival skill as more spikeys start to populate the levels. Tilting the tank also helps to show off a physics engine that allows bubbles of varying sizes to behave realistically.
Every time you clear a stage you will receive bonus points based on the number of pops left in reserve, amount of bubbles used and the time it took to complete. These bonuses get multiplied by the number of the cleared level, allowing scores to build up quickly as you progress.
Just Fillin' allows you to upload your scores to an online leaderboard which can be accessed through the menu at any time. Other notable features include a hard mode that starts with more spikeys on each level and the ability to start a game from any level you've reached on either difficulty. The game boasts “unlimited” levels, though I rarely make it beyond level 50 of the normal mode because by that point levels are absolutely swarming with spikeys, thus making it difficult to inflate bubbles.
Just Fillin' is quite a polished looking game. The background and bubble colours change on each stage keeping it from feeling stale. The colours used are bright and vibrant making the whole package look almost like a lava lamp. This retro feel is complimented by sleek, modern fonts and overlays used in the interface and bonus screens. The bubble and background colours always seem to contrast each other well, making the game more playable for colourblind people.
There is not much to the sound design of Just Fillin', but what is there works quite well to punctuate bubbles popping or signify a level being cleared. The sounds used are subtle and blended in well while I was listening to music from my on board library.
It's easy for me to recommend Just Fillin' to those looking for a great portable action-puzzle title, provided they are up for a challenge. It's the kind of game I mean to play for five minutes and end up playing for 30 thanks to a great presentation and original, addictive gameplay. You could certainly find many worse ways to spend a dollar and despite what the name implies, Just Fillin’ delivers the good stuff.
+ Fast-Paced, Addictive Gameplay
+ Polished Look, Well Realized Art Style
+ Unlimited Levels in Normal and Hard Modes
+ Daily, Weekly, Monthly Leaderboards
- Fingers Obscure Areas of the Playfield
Game Forward Score: 4/5
Brian J. Papineau > Game Forward
Just Fillin’ (iPhone/iPod Touch) Quick Facts:
Release Date: March 12, 2009 (v1.3)
iTunes Rating: 4+