The perfect puzzle for fans of flat design

Beautifully minimal iOS game Smart Clear will get your head spinning in all manner of complicated directions.

If your main criteria for getting games for your iThing is the whether they pack a lovely flat design to fit in nicely with iOS 7, then do we have a new game for you!

Smart Clear's one of those games that presents you with a grid of tiles in three colours, and you have to make them disappear. In this case you simply tap on three of them, and if they meet the game's rather esoteric criteria then they'll vanish and you'll score points.

Oh yes, the esoteric criteria. Get this: you can select a group of things that are either all the same colour, or all completely different colours. But that alone's not confusing enough for Smart Clear, which complicates things by adding up to three symbols to each tile, and you can choose tiles with all the same numbers of the same symbol, or different numbers of the same symbol, or different numbers of different symbols.

Does that make sense? It took quite a while for it to sink in here, that's for sure, and that's just the theory. In practice, trying to pick out the right group of three for maximum points - the more complicated the mismatch, the more points you score - can be thoroughly bewildering.

And that's just the basic mode. There's also a timed mode in which you're trying to match things up against the clock, resulting in your brain completely seizing up in a state of utter panic. And should you find all this idiotic difficulty just a little pedestrian, there's an option to switch on a hilariously-monikered Hard Mode, which adds a further layer of complexity by making the little symbols on the tiles different colours. We turned it on for a second, considered the ramifications, chuckled coldly and turned it straight off again.

Smart Clear could definitely explain itself a little better, but eventually you get a feel for it and discover a clever and tough little puzzle that should keep you entertained for a while. And then there's its flat design; we don't think it could really be any more flat. It might even be a little too flat; we found ourselves wishing for just a little more graphical flourish. Don't let that put you off, though; this one's all about giving your brain a proper seeing-to, and the lack of distraction's probably a plus in this case.

Key info

  • Works with: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch
  • Price: $0.99/£0.69
  • Developer: Zhijin Chen
  • Version: 1.0.0
  • App size: 0.5MB
  • Age rating: 4+

Words: Jim McCauley

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