TipTop is one of the latest and most addictive titles that Astraware has released. Most people that have played games released by Astraware notice the same theme: excellent graphics, stimulating game play, and a great replay value. TipTop doesn’t break this mold. In fact, I think that in some ways, this game can become as addictive as Bejeweled.
This game has excellent graphics. As with most of the current releases by Astraware, whether running in hi-res or low-res, TipTop looks awesome. On my Zire71 the colors are bright and sharp. There is no slowdown when combos produce “jax-looking” sparkles on the screen. All of the menus are clean and simple. The 50’s theme really allows this game to stand out. The colors and fonts give the feel of a casino, and the game-play makes you feel like you are in a casino with the constant sounds and colors on the screen. I give TipTop 4 stars out of 4 for the graphics.
Some games come across with great graphics but the game play suffers because it is trying to show more than you get to play. With TipTop, that is not the case. Actually, I really couldn t tell that the graphics were slowing the game down at all. On my Zire71, every drop of fruit/slot kept me occupied.
TipTop is a simple game to understand. The point of the game is to create as many combos of three or more similar items. There are three modes of game play: Regular, Speed, and Strategy. The Regular mode is best described as entry level of the game. For each item that is put into play from the top of the screen (by button press, 5-way nav press, or stylus input), an item is shot up from the bottom of the board (into a random row). There is a window on the right side that lets you see the next 3 items that will appear. The Speed level (this reviewer s favorite) is a faster version of the Regular level. The items float upward from the bottom of the screen apart from the user s movement of the items on the top of the screen. As you advance in levels, the speed of the computer controlled items moves faster. The last mode is called Strategy. The interesting caveat to this mode is that for every item that you place on the board, a corresponding item is placed on the exact opposite side of the board. It works like this: the TipTop board is broken up into eight rows. With the Strategy mode, when you place an item in row 1, the computer places an item in row 8. When you place an item in row 2, one goes into row 7, and so on. This really seems to work against you when you get to the higher levels and the items on the bottom do nothing to help you alleviate the rows, but only serve as place holders.
There is one more mode to the game, the Bonus level. There is a bonus level that you achieve every three levels. This bonus level allows you to practice the recognition skills that you will need for the levels that follow.
In my opinion, the best aspects of this game are its replay value. In levels with the speed level, items float up faster and combinations are harder to achieve. With the strategy levels, you are forced to think about each move several moves in advanced because of the randomness of the computer played pieces.
The game ends when you hit the top or the bottom of the game board. After that you are given the choice to insert your high score, or start a another game. I give the Game Play for TipTop 4 stars for its replay value and excellent use of simple game rules.
If you are looking for the next great addictive game and something that will keep you occupied while waiting for customers, sitting in line, or just killing time, TipTop should be on your list next to Bejeweled as one of your most played games. I never had the game lock up on me, neither have I had any problems with the game.
Astraware is selling this game for $14.95. Though it seems a bit high for such a small scale game, you get Astraware s proven quality and a great game to play again and again. Try TipTop, I am sure that you will fall head over heels for it as I did.
The game is available for Palm and Pocket PC. Pick up a free demo at our Handango store.