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Review: Ruya – A match-three puzzler to unwind to

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Developer: Miracle Tea Studios
Price: $0.99/£0.99
Size: 222 MB
Version: 1.1
Platform: iPhone & iPad

Get Ruya

Making a relaxing game is quite an art. Games by their very nature are designed to stimulate and challenge, so a placid audience is often a bored audience.

Ruya from Miracle Tea Studios manages to tread that fine line between thrills and chills with some success. At heart, it’s a match-three puzzler, that most oversubscribed of mobile game genres whereby you line up and pop colored baubles. However, the game does just enough to keep you in a state of zen-like contentment.

Ruya’s setup is brief, strange, and oddly moving

Ruya’s whimsical setting mixes the mundane and the fantastical, as our titular heroine loses her love and sinks into a meditative trance. Sorting through each batch of puzzles seems to mirror Ruya’s own attempts to clear her mind and emerge from a depressive funk.

If that sounds like a lofty set-up for a simple puzzler, don’t worry. It’s all handled with a light (and mercifully brief) touch.

Each puzzle requires you to collect a certain number of colored circles split across several colors. There’s already a grid of jumbled up circles when you enter the levels, but you can also drop the individual circle Ruya is holding onto the grid.

Complete the shapes listed in the top left

It’s not enough to simply shuffle and match these circles, however. Rather, you need to form a prescribed shape with them, and then trace it out with your finger to make it disappear.

The color you use in doing this is up to you, but you’ll need to meet those individual color quotas as well as watching out for your overall move limit. It’s possible to bolster that limit by forming matches with certain special blocks.

Bolster your move count by matching the bubble blocks

After the first set of levels, you’ll want to start considering your approach to matching a little more carefully. It’s easy to waste moves just clearing out useless blocks from the increasingly constrained grids if you’re not careful.

Still, Ruya isn’t a difficult game by any stretch of the imagination. You rarely need to think more than a move or two ahead, and there’s usually a way to escape from a self-inflicted dead-end.

Level layouts can get trickily constrained

All in all it’s a very gentle form of puzzle solving which, accompanied by a charming pastel-hued art style and tinkly sound effects, achieves the desired calming influence.

Ruya isn’t going to set anyone’s pulse racing, and it’s far from the freshest or most ingenious puzzler on iOS. But if you like your games gentle, it’s a charmer – time spent shuffling through its levels may just help you expel some of that built-up tension at the end of a busy day.