Review: Ultra Fill
What do you get if you cross Tetris with Angry Birds with Breakout? Ultra Fill, for Windows Phone. While not perhaps as comprehensive or as earth shattering as the titles I just name dropped, there are certainly elements of each present and correct here, and with a price of £free it's hard not to smile a little at this surprisingly addictive little casual game.
The idea is to gradually fill the playing area with shapes ('Phils'), such that their overall area exceeds 65% of the total. Tapping and holding a spot will start a shape appearing, circle, triangle or square as per your initial preference, growing in size each second and stopping when you lift your finger, or when the growing shape hits an obstruction or a red or blue 'evil' Phil. The shapes then fall gently and settle according to the laws of physics - you can even jog them gently by swiping them if you think they need to settle a little more in order to create room for your next shape.
Sounds easy, doesn't it? But you lose a precious life if a growing Phil comes into contact with its bouncing red or blue (evil) nemesis and there are, as the levels progress, more and more of these, moving faster and faster. So you've got to plan how to achieve the 65% while actively growing the current shape and trying to time the growth so as to avoid lethal collisions.
When starting a new game, there's the choice of which shape to specialise in (so, having got bored with one, you can try another) or you can simply opt for 'random' and enjoy a mixed game. If your game does get interrupted, there's thankfully the chance to resume it, rather than having to start from scratch each time - a full game can last ten or fifteen minutes, depending on how good you are.
There are plenty of subtleties in Ultra Fill in terms of allowing for shapes to fall into the right places so as to maximise the amount of space left for new shapes. A shaded bar, bottom left, shows how you're doing on each level in terms of reaching the critical 65%.
Also shown here in the developer's own screenshots (our tool couldn't capture from this game) are humorous messages at the top of the screen - I love the one below! - you won't be surprised to learn that these are replaced in the free title with adverts and that it's these ads which keep Ultra Fill free for you to play. They don't get in the way and aren't a problem, though if the developer ever comes up with a 'pro' version without ads then I'd be up for buying it and enjoy a little more gameplay area....
At heart an arcade puzzler, no two games here are ever exactly the same, keeping the title fairly fresh. Yes, I'd still class Ultra Fill as a 'casual' game, in that you'll only be playing it in short bursts, but don't be too dismissive - there's a lot of gameplay here for a game so small and simple.
Reviewed by Steve Litchfield at