Expander Review

By , on July 24, 2013
Last modified 5 years, 10 months ago

Download on the AppStore
3 out of 5


  • A simple but challenging concept.
  • Rewarding once you master the controls.


  • Severe learning curve will likely scare players away.
  • Perspective shifts are disorienting.


Daunting and uncompromising, Expander is definitely an acquired taste. Still, there's an addictive core beneath the game's brutal surface.

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There are some games which don't waste time explaining things. Often, this is the hallmark of a bad game, as many of people will give up on a potentially enjoyable experience due to confusion and frustration. Bit Pilot and Endless Road are examples of games in which potentially addictive gameplay is buried beneath odd controls and punishing difficulty. Now, it looks like Expander is set to join their ranks.

In essence, Expander is an endless-runner starring an expanding block. Moving your finger up and down the left side of the screen will cause the floating block to increase and decrease in length. Holding down on the right side of the screen will elevate the block to a higher plane, while releasing sends it back down to ground-level.

Your score increases the longer you survive, and collecting the star cubes will bump up your multiplier. Like the obstacle course which you are navigating, these cubes are colour coded by height: red for low, and blue for high. Initially, we recommend not worrying about the star blocks, and instead focuson avoiding the obstacles and controlling your block.

As you start hitting milestones, the game switches perspective on you. This certainly forces you to pay attention, but can scramble your brain a little at first. It's only when begin to gel with the controls that you acknowledge some of the daring maneovers the developer is asking you to pull off.

Seeing the game in motion, you'll probably have a good idea whether Expander will frustrate you, or provide a welcome challenge. There's a good game beneath its uncompromising surface, but coming to terms with the sensitive stretching controls and demanding obstacles will likely put off a lot of potential players.


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