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Cell Bound™ Review

By , on June 21, 2011

Cell Bound™
Download on the AppStore
4 out of 5


  • Puzzle Bobble gameplay with a literal twist.
  • Three game modes to choose from; 'Infinite' and 'Burst' for unique zen-like gameplay.
  • Customizable color scheme; set to whacky colors you enjoy or something more functional.


  • 'Timer' mode slow to get going despite the shorter time limit; lacks punch.
  • No control config or alternative schemes; default speed can be overly sensitive without practice.


Cell Bound is Hothead Game's third offering for the App Store and a relaxing alternative to the usual three-match titles for the iOS.

  • Full Review
  • App Store Info

In Puzzle Bobble, it's up to you to carefully aim a colored orb and fire it in to position next to two or more similarly colored orbs to eliminate them from the screen. Simple right? Now imagine the orbs are being fired randomly from all around you and the only way to match them is to spin the cluster of orbs in the middle; that's Hothead Game's latest title Cell Bound in a nutshell.

Or is that petri dish? In either case you'll have to master the deceptively simple task of swiping to rotate the middle of the screen in order to allow 'cells' to cluster around each other in groups of five or more. At first the slow one-by-one arrival of each cell is easy to keep track of and after a while you'll start to enter a zen-like mode of swiping back and forth as the cells latch and grow on one another before exploding.

Each of the three available modes brings its own twist to things, with the basic 'Infinite' mode popping the orbs automatically, while also providing the occasional power-up to mix things up. Players can also earn a 'bomb' to clear out the screen should they end up messing up the placement of their orbs. 'Burst' mode requires players to manually trigger the reactions, allowing for much larger chains for higher scores, but if an isolated cell lands on a different colored cluster it will become 'inactive', eventually filling up the available gaps and preventing easy matches. Lastly a 'timed' mode gets to the action straight away for those times you can't spend a few extra minutes on a round.

While these modes don't provide a lot of variety in the overall tactics available to players, the combination of calm background music, desaturated visuals and simple-repetitive controls make for a calming experience that offsets the late-game tension perfectly. Interestingly, players can also customize the colors of the cells they use - it's not a huge feature, but it does cater for those with color blindness problems.

Much like Hothead Games' other releases, Cell Bound adds a neat twist to an oft-repeated concept, making for a game that's easy to learn while still providing a new challenge. It won't dominate your arcade puzzle collection, but if you're after something outside the usual three-match this might be for you.


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amirfoox 7 years ago

As someone already pointed out in iTunes - this looks like an almost identical clone of the iTunes game 'The Blackhole'.