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TwitchGames, Smallball  
From: TwitchGames, Smallball
For: iPad, iPhone
Genre: Horror, Puzzle
ESRB Rating: N/R (Not Rated)
Evergeek's Matt Waskey is a proud owner of an iPad2. He loves it so much, he didn't even lament the blood splattered across its HD screen, gushed from his own severed finger. Digitally, anyway.
Posted April 26, 2011
The "i" revolution is very competitive. We are constantly seeing boundaries pushed, a race to see who can make an app faster, sleeker, better looking, more fun, etc. However, while everyone wants to be on it, Slash rides the figurative "cutting edge" quite literally.

Slice HD for iOS (iPad and iPad2, with a SD version for iPhone), developed by Smallball and published by TwitchGames, is a puzzle game that borders on graphic, teetering towards gory. A puzzler quite unlike any other, the goal is to press a red button or buttons when lit and full accessible. Simple, except each button is guarded by razor-sharp blades, spring loaded or cantilevered, that you must strategically move out of the way and hold there.

On the iTunes AppStore pages, there is a notice that reads "WARNING: This is an intense, realistic game, and may be too disturbing for some players."

True enough, though after the first couple of failed puzzles it becomes almost a non-factor; you're soon desensitized, albeit deceivingly so. Turns out, each time you touch the edge of a knife or, more likely, let one spring or swipe at your screen-touching digit, said finger is "cut" with lightening quick industriousness. Animated blood bespatters the screen as if you just had a fingertip unceremoniously severed. Admittedly, the first time it happens (and later in the game as well), it leaves you with a queasy sensation for its impressive realism. You get used to it soon enough and the feeling goes away - and then hits you again after a few successful, surgery-free puzzles followed by your next sudden mistake.

One of the great things about this game is the load time - or lack thereof, rather. Once installed, you just start the game, no menus, no instructions or splashy intro graphics, just jump right in. Playing Slice is its own the introduction, the instructions, the tutorial... and it's plainly intuitive right from the get-go. But it sure isn't "friendly."

As already established, Slice has rightly earned its gory reputation. But more than that, the game's presentation is downright sinister in the way of single-minded surgical steel. It keeps you on edge, "keepin' it real" in a discomforting way.

Don't be fooled by the first few levels. The first five or so are a breeze and they collectively lull you into thinking that this is yet another easy-peasy $2.99 iDitty. Fortunately, Slice HD has legs: it gets harder, more complicated, more menacing as you progress. Eventually, you're using both hands, all fingers and two thumbs to finagle blades out of the way (the developer even suggests using your nose) in what amounts to a seriously fiendish take on Twister(tm).

Available as Slice SD for iPhone (which also works on iPad) for $1.99 or as Slice HD for iPad/iPad2 for $2.99, the larger screen version is obviously a bit easier in some ways, mainly because there's more room to maneuver. On the downside, of course, you've farther to stretch and contort.

Regardless, Slice is a good game, unique for its foreboding atmosphere, its dark, sinister, and pervasive threat of rapid bloodletting. Combine that with its progressively tricky brain-teasing puzzles and you have a winner.
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Score:  4  (out of 5)