App O’ The Mornin’: Monumental

What the?! Knizia again? Is he trying to corner the App market?

Well, if he is, he’s doing a bang-up job, because even the relatively flaccid Knizia Apps (Poison, Robot Master) are still pretty good.

Although the Mayan graphics and exploration theme of Monumental call to mind Lost Cities, the game is a completely new design by Knizia for the iPhone/Thouch. Yes, it’s another set making game, but Knizia always manages to do something fresh with the format.

Monumental uses a mechanic that would be difficult to recreate in a conventional card game. Two sets of 12 empty spaces (3 columns by 4 rows) are split by a column of 4 tiles. As you slide each tile into one of the empty rows, another falls. The goal is to make sets of tiles matched by rune design, number of ruins, color, or any combination of the three, with more points award for more complete matches.

Although it’s a simple design, maximizing points requires pre-planning and a steady pace, making it a thinking person’s alternative to Bejeweled.

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