Flow Free is a puzzle game that involves connecting colored dots on a grid. The concept is as simple as can be, and yet as the levels progress, this becomes more of a challenge than you might think.
If you like puzzles that require some meditation and strategy, and if you’re the kind of player who just has to dominate a level — no matter how many times you have to replay it — before moving on to the next, then Flow Free is right up your alley. Click “more” to take a look.
Flow Free presents you with a grid, on which colored dots are already placed: a pair of red, of yellow, of green, of blue and so on. More colors are naturally added as you progress through the game.
Regardless of the level, your goal remains the same: Connect like colors to each other across the grid with a swipe of your finger. Flow calls these pipes, and you want to use as few moves as possible to connect them. But there’s a catch: The pipes cannot overlap or intersect, otherwise they’ll break.
If you need a hint on any level, you can tap the question mark in the bottom righthand corner. If you want to restart the level at any point, tap the refresh button located at the bottom center of the screen. And to skip forward or go backward a level, use the arrows.
Packs and Manias
There are 750 playable levels in Flow Free, divided into sets of 150. Here’s the breakdown:
- Regular Pack – These progress from 5×5 to 9×9 boards. You can play these in any order you want.
- Bonus Pack – More of the same: 5×5 to 9×9 boards that you can play in any order you want.
- 8×8 Mania – All 8×8 boards. You can play these only in numerical order, since you have to complete every level to unlock the subsequent one.
- 9×9 Mania – These are all 9×9 boards. You can only unlock these by beating all the 8×8 Mania levels.
- Jumbo Pack – These are designed specifically for the iPad and progress from 10×10 to 14×14 boards.
The Jumbo Pack boards are where you get the most of out the game, since they take advantage of the iPad’s larger display, taking the boards all the way up to 14×14 grids. So if you want a real challenge, you’ve gotta hop on board the Jumbo Pack train.
If you get all the way through the 750 free levels and decide you still haven’t gotten enough, you can always buy more from the Level Store. Clicking More Levels at the bottom of the pack selection screen will display your options as well as the prices. For example, you can buy a Green Pack or Blue Pack, each containing another 150 levels, for $0.99 each. Or you can unlock all the packs for $3.99.
In addition to the Green and Blue packs, your options include Purple, Pink and Rainbow packs, plus a 10×10 mania and even a Kids Pack.
From the home screen, you can select Free Play to play the various levels, or you can select Time Trial, which lets you race against the clock. Select your board size and your time limit — 30 seconds; or one, two or four minutes.
This means that, in all, there are 20 different score Time Trial variations you can dominate, in addition to earning Game Center achievements (such as reaching a certain level of completed levels or completing every level in a pack).
Also on the home screen are your options for controlling the sounds, volume, and labels (off/on). Although Flow Free is built around matching colors, the labels make it possible for those who are color-impaired to enjoy the game, as each dot is then marked with a letter (A, B, C, D, etc.) that the player can focus on pairing.
There are ads that appear both at the bottom of the game and pop up sporadically; Flow Free will periodically present you with the option of removing the ads — this requires the purchase of a pack at the level store.
If you ever forget how to play or just need a written overview, you can access How to Play by tapping About on the home screen. Also under About, view achievements, review the app or send feedback.
I have to admit, the graphics didn’t do much to impress me when I first launched the app. I know there are many who appreciate stripped-down aesthetics in a game like this, but I am not one of those folks — although Flow Free does somehow look better on the iPad, in my opinion, which I know is unusual for minimalist graphics. While the look and feel of the game did kind of grow on me the longer I played, the visuals are still the No. 1 aspect I’d upgrade.
Other than that, there isn’t anything I’d change, since the simplicity of the concept is a big part of what makes this such a great game. Also, I’m sure there are those who would like to complain about the appearance of ads, and the charge for additional levels, but I feel pretty good about 750 levels that I can play for free. If I beat all 750 and I still want more, then the developers have totally earned my money for another pack.