Review: SPB Quads for Windows Mobile


After years of ‘Match 3’ games like Bejeweled and Puzzle Quest and even multi-dimensional ‘Match 3’ games like Puzzle Quest Galactrix, there was only one natural course to follow .. MATCH 4! Of course, since Match 3 games already offered extra bonuses for a 4th matched item, the folks at SPB needed to do something different. Here is the scenario: you make the connection between three sides of a rectangle! So how well does this game work in terms of keeping interesting going in a seemingly saturated matching-game field? Read on and see!


The Hype:
Based on SPB Quadronica game, SPB Quads is the new arcade game for Windows Mobile touchsceens with very addictive gameplay, attractive graphics, two different gaming scenarios, and online high scores support.

Main Features

– Two game modes for different gaming scenarios
– Addictive game play
– Attractive graphics
– Six different bonuses
– Online high scores
– Native support for 240×320, 240×400, 320×320, 480×640, 480×800 WM touchscreens
– Finger-friendly interface


The Reality:
I love puzzle games – from Bejeweled to Puzzle Quest to Luxor to Zuma to Tetris and more, I’m a sucker for a interesting ‘time waster’ with an interesting twist. That is exactly what Quads delivers – apparently based on SPB’s Quadronica game, Quads is all about matching three corners of a rectangle, which results in the entire area being destroyed and you gaining points.


The amount of points you gain is related to the area you eliminate, along with any special blocks that might have been contained. These special boxes can also be activated causing something specific to occur (e.g. explosion, etc) in their area, gaining you even more points. As you gain points you ‘level up’, which can result in gaining one of six bonuses.


There are two basic modes: Timed and Endless. As you might imagine, in Timed mode you are in a race against the clock, whereas in Endless mode you simply keep matching Quads until there are no more rectangles to be formed.


My main question is about the value: a few years ago I wouldn’t have blinked about spending $10 for this game. However, since the introduction of the iTunes App Store, $10 has suddenly become a lot of money for a simple puzzle game like this.


Fortunately there is a demo download available. It has some restrictions and works for 15 days. My advice is to try that, and if you are bristling against the restrictions, or are still playing after 15 days, then immediately buy this one! It is the sort of game you will always be happy to have on your device for a quick diversion!


Where to Buy: SPB Software

Price: $9.99

What I Like:
– Fun gameplay
– Nice graphics and effects
– Free trial download available

What Needs Improvement:
– Remains to be seen if people will still pay $10 for a simple puzzle game in an ‘App Store World’?

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About the Author

Michael Anderson
I have loved technology for as long as I can remember - and have been a computer gamer since the PDP-10! Mobile Technology has played a major role in my life - I have used an electronic companion since the HP95LX more than 20 years ago, and have been a 'Laptop First' person since my Compaq LTE Lite 3/20 and Powerbook 170 back in 1991! As an avid gamer and gadget-junkie I was constantly asked for my opinions on new technology, which led to writing small blurbs ... and eventually becoming a reviewer many years ago. My family is my biggest priority in life, and they alternate between loving and tolerating my gaming and gadget hobbies ... but ultimately benefits from the addition of technology to our lives!

4 Comments on "Review: SPB Quads for Windows Mobile"

  1. “My main question is about the value: a few years ago I wouldn’t have blinked about spending $10 for this game. However, since the introduction of the iTunes App Store, $10 has suddenly become a lot of money for a simple puzzle game like this”

    I have been reading GD for a long while now. It is one of the good tech blogs. I simply had to react to this comment.

    You do realise that with the $0.99 or $1.99 apps of the App Store, developpers make almost no money at all. Apple is becoming the Wal-Mart of software. How much do the developpers make when Apple is selling their apps at that price? It may be extremely attractive for the consumers, but i don’t think the authors of the software are fairly rewarded for their work.

    I am not a software developper. But I am worried about the industry as a whole by Apple’s practices regarding it’s App Store.

    So, according to your standards, please explain what piece of software would be worth $10. If a puzzle game does not cut it, what does?

  2. Crud … my browser crashed as I was finishing up my reply.

    First off – thanks for the reply!

    Next – I agree! I am NOT saying the game isn’t worth $10, but rather that the mentality that has become pervasive based on some casual gaming sites and the App Store is that $10 is *expensive*.

    I wrote about this here ), and had another reply in progress … maybe I’ll finish it!

    Personally, I see this mentality as very harmful to game development, and here is why:
    – I did some research on why games costs what they cost, and found that >50% of the cost of a game (this was done for consoles / PC / handhelds stuff a couple of years ago) goes to development / art / engineering.
    – <7% goes to anything related to 'physical media, packaging and distribution'.
    – The rest is related to overhead, licensing, marketing, and middleman/publisher profits.

    Look at a $30 DS game that is released a year later for $5 on the App Store. Assuming the above price model, for the DS with a break-even of 0.5 million units sold, that would make the development budget $7.5 million with sales revenue of $15 million. Not an unreasonable set of numbers, and along the way everyone makes a few dollars of built-in profit.

    On the DS those sales represent 1 million units on the App Store. According to some reports, three apps have done it – Tap Tap Revenge, FieldRunners and Flight Control.

    But look at the prices – $1, $3, $1.

    Even looking at the entire ‘top 10’ all time sales according to the report, we have an average of $2.99 with a median at $2.49! And that doesn’t count the massive amounts sold when the games have special $0.99 sales!

    So … what does mean? The #1 game on iTunes has generated a total of $4 million in revenue, with ~$2.8 million going back to the developer and $1.2 million to Apple … but that is in almost 1.5 years!

    That seems like a lot of money until you look at the costs of having a development staff, marketing, support and so on for 2+ years! It is enough for small-shop ‘byte sized’ games to survive, but not much more.

    And that is my concern – to compete in this landscape the games have to shrink in scope and budget because the pricing pressure will only increase.


    Of course, the other choice is to take the ‘Mac Game’ route.

    This week we saw an update to the plans to put out Bioshock for the Mac. It will be out the end of next month and cost either $40 or $50. This at the exact same time as the PC version is on sale for $5 at Direct2Drive after being sold for <$10 more than a couple of times by every digital download site available!

    Bioshock for Mac requires an Intel processor, so anyone who can play it on Mac can potentially use Bootcamp. They know all of this … yet are pricing it at 'day of release' levels … so they have immediately set themselves up for self-limiting sales figures, but are doing so with full knowledge of what they're doing (or so they say).

    I hope that they make money on Bioshock … and I hope that SPB makes money on Quads, as it is a really good game. But in both cases, the reality of the marketplace around these games exists whether it is convenient or not … and that reality is making many people NOT click 'Buy Now'.

  3. I understand what you are saying, the way I read the quote in my first message, I understood the opposite. I am glad it is not so.

    If you want another very obvious example, just look at the Astraware games in the App store. The most expensive, Sudoku and Board Games, are $2.99. However, the same games for Windows Mobile are $9.99. Now, These are not new games in the WinMo universe. The development costs have been paid. However, they have been recoded for the iPhone and iPod Touch. So that means that even if, technically, they are new games, Apple is still selling them at about 30% of the “original” price. Either Astraware was selling highly overpriced games or Apple is ripping them off. Somehow, I don’t think the former is true…

    I am glad Apple finally have a 64 GO Ipod Touch, this is something I have been waiting for. However, its App Store policy is making me rethink this purchase. I really do not want to encourage that kind of behaviour.

  4. Thanks for reading my terribly convoluted post that was longer than my review… as you can tell I am fairly passionate about this stuff!

    I don’t know where things settle out in the end, but I have concerns for games I love on handhelds like complex adventures and RPG’s, and also the fate of much more expensive PC games.

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