Those of you who enjoy playing the odd puzzle game on your smartphone will no doubt remember 2048. The viral "It" game of 2014, 2048 was centered around the very simple idea of consolidating like numbers on a grid by swiping in any direction. Naturally, dozens of clones began to arrive on digital storefronts shortly after, hoping to capitalize in some way on the massive success of the puzzler. Enter Prism Pets, a riff on that same formula, but this time with colored tiles depicting animals. While Prism Pets' gameplay is extremely simplistic and uninspired, it nonetheless provides a mildly satisfying time-sink.
For those of you that are unaware of the gameplay formula, it goes something like this. Coloured tiles appear on a 5 x 5 grid, and swiping in any of four directions will cause all tiles to slide as far as possible in that direction. Every time you swipe, one new tile is thrown in, and there's a new type you have to try to create by combining the tiles available on the grid. For example, you might need to combine a yellow and a red to get orange. Points are awarded for each successful combination, and the amount you get per match goes up if you can get more tiles to combine per swipe. If the grid should fill all the way up with tiles, you lose and the game resets.
The key problem here is that the game fails to build upon this gameplay in any meaningful way or provide any reason to keep the player coming back for more. More colour variations are introduced the longer you survive, but there's otherwise no reason to keep playing more than a handful of rounds. It's fun to try and top your highest score for a while, but it eventually reaches a point where it's just a chore to start from square one yet again. On top of this, it becomes a game of luck past a certain point when so many different colours are introduced to the grid that it's impossible to get the ones you need together.
In terms of presentation, there's a very simplistic and stripped back design philosophy at play here, and while it ultimately works in the game's favour it feels like more could've been done. Light, muted colours are used for the background and UI while slightly stronger primary colours are used for the colouration of tiles. A peaceful, atmospheric track plays in the background, and while it's a little more repetitive than we'd like it never gets in the way of the experience. Besides that, there's not much else to see.
Prism Pets is one of those games that definitely is more at home on a smart device than a home console. This is the kind of game that you play for a minute or two while waiting in line for something, not when you have time to sit down on the couch. There's nothing strictly wrong with the gameplay or presentation, but it feels like the developer could've added more for the console release, such as leaderboards or more modes. As it stands, there's nothing here that justifies the extra few dollars it costs over its smart device equivalents, so we'd suggest you pass this one up. It's a bit too simple for its own good.