Jenga Review

By , on December 13, 2010

Download on the AppStore
4 out of 5


  • Intuitive, responsive control scheme.
  • Physics almost perfectly recreate the game; complete with minor stacking flaws.
  • Pass and play mode to recreate the party atmosphere of Jenga.


  • Arcade mode only available for solo play.
  • Limited appeal for those who don't enjoy the analogue version.


If you didn't enjoy Jenga when it was a pile of blocks in front of you, then you may not become a convert thanks to playing it on the iPhone, however the arcade mode and pass-and-play multiplayer add a lot to the mix when you consider you don't have to clean up after you're done.

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I just have to ask this... I mean, how bored was the person who came up with Jenga? Don't get me wrong, I've had some fun times with friends playing the game, but at what point did someone craft 54 wooden blocks, stack them up and say 'Yup, that's a game!'? At any rate, you can dispense with the messy, noisy and tedious creation of the Jenga tower thanks to NaturalMotion's modern 3D update to this party-game favorite.

One of the tricks of Jenga is knowing just which block to go for and carefully manipulating other blocks in the tower in order to keep the whole structure as stable as possible. This is made easy with the game's intuitive controls that highlight blocks based on how tricky they are to get (i.e., how stuck the block is) and players can simply tap or drag to apply force to the blocks to wedge them out of their positions. Camera positioning only requires basic screen dragging, helping you to get a better vantage point for applying your grip and knocking out the pieces.

There are two environments to play in, though these are fairly incidental to the 3D graphics and physics that have gone in to replicating this game in its minutiae. While you can play the game in the solitaire mode to see how high you can go, a pass and play mode is also available for up to four people and an Arcade variant on the basic rules also help to keep things interesting.

Your mileage may vary for Jenga as its replication of the original game places it in the awkward position of relying on how much you enjoyed the analogue version. The solid physics and clever control scheme make it an easy game to pick up and enjoy, but the thrill of building a tower and watching it fall again has a limited appeal; grab some friends and enjoy it together to really make the most of this title.


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