UMAI! Review

By , on June 25, 2014

Download on the AppStore
3 out of 5


  • Stylised retro audio and visuals
  • Fast paced simple puzzling
  • Responsive controls


  • Short burst play is limited
  • Some won’t enjoy the presentation


Umai! is minimal puzzler with a particular charm that, like sushi, will likely attract some people for the same reasons that it repulses others.

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Like a good plate of sashimi, Umai! understands that less is more. This sushi-munching puzzler has you controlling a monster's tongue as it tries to eat its way through a conveyer belt of fishy treats.

You begin by selecting one of five peckish creatures. Each has a unique pixel art design that sits somewhere on a spectrum between distressing and wonderful. Once you've chosen, you are instantly surrounded by twelve plates of sushi.

You control your hungry beast's frog-like tongue with swipe controls. Though there are six colours of sushi, you can only enjoy chains of one flavour in any given bite. The more combined in a single gulp, the greater your score, and the more time you gain to continue your feast. Eat enough in one go and your monster will exclaim “Umai!”, earning you an even bigger bonus.

The countdown timer, combined with the high-score chasing colour-matching gameplay, creates some frantic moments. Balancing the bonuses for longer chains against the clock is a real challenge, with your greed often distracting you from the timer, making turns seem to end abruptly.

To add a little spice to the mix there are two special flavours of sushi also on offer. While usually your monster will not touch a different flavour in a given mouthful, these unique tastes will be sucked into the chain if encountered.

The first of these looks quite unpleasant, with its 4x4 pixel design comprising an undulating mess of brown. This instantly breaks your chain, ruining your taste buds and your score. The second special plate is more appetising: a rainbow shaded delight that acts as a link between flavours of sushi to allow you to form massive two colour combos.

These flavours add some interesting strategy to the otherwise straightforward twitch puzzler. While you can easily jerk your tongue around the screen most of the time, these specials force you to pay closer attention to carefully utilise - or avoid - these additional treats.

With its stylish 8-bit visuals and chiptune audio, Umai!’s twitch puzzling may not appeal to everyone. However, its fast pace high-score chasing will keep others entertained in short bursts.


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