November 27, 2014

App Review: Trap!

trap1Ok call me crazy, but up until now I really haven’t used my phone for gaming purposes.  Perhaps it’s just that I haven’t been in any situations that have called for something to simply occupy my time.  All that changed on Friday when I was stuck waiting for a friend in a very public place with little to do.  I jumped into the Android Market and perused through the new applications available.  When nothing piqued my interest I thought to myself, “Why not?” and I went into some unknown territory… the games section.

What a wellspring of awesomeness!  I was soon downloading games like a madman: Amazed, Abduction, Colorix, Bonsai Blast, etc.  There is one game, however, that has managed to consume a great deal of my time as of late.  It’s called Trap! I can’t explain why it is so addictive, but whenever I start playing, I have a hard time putting it down.

The premise is simple.  Lay claim to as much screen area as possible by trapping moving balls, any area that gets walled off without a ball in it contributes to area you have collected.  Sounds easy right?  Wrong, the trick is that you have to draw a complete line without a ball running into it before it is finished being drawn.  With balls colliding and bouncing all over the screen it quickly turns a simple game into one of complex strategy.  Once you have taken control of 75% of the screen area, you progress onto the next board.  To further increase the fun, there are power-ups such as a freeze mechanism that stop the balls from moving for a few seconds or speed boosts that allow you to draw a line quicker than usual.  Other welcome features of the game are bonuses awarded for accomplishing various things such as: capturing the greatest amount of screen area in one move, or creating the smallest area for a ball to bounce around in (my current obsession!).

If you are an old-school gamer like me, chances are you grew up playing games like Pac Man and Galaga, where  the only real objective of the game is to earn the high score.  Well the same thing applies in Trap!  It’s all about pwning your friends score and beating his/her record for fastest board clearing, or most points earned for % of board captured over 80%.

Visually the game is not off the charts in terms of coolness, but it serves its purpose.  What more do you need? You start out with a big empty box with balls bouncing around in it.  There is also a display that will show you the calculated amount of overall space you have captured (this is important for strategy when trying to earn bonuses), your current amount of lives left, the amount of speed boosts you have, and your overall score.

One thing that I think really turned me on to the game are the controls used for play.  Seems kind of a no-brainer for a touchscreen game and I can’t believe nobody else had thought of it earlier.  To play you simply swipe your finger on the screen and a line begins to draw. At times it is a little frustrating if the screen misreads what you input and draws a line you didn’t intend (lost more than once this way!). Yet,  it is a marriage between simple game control and complex game possibilities that make Trap! such an enjoyable game to play.  I think if you go and download Trap!, it will be one of those rare games that stays on your phone for some time.

Currently the game is in version 1.0 and I hope the developer continues to upgrade because I think there are a lot of cool places he could take the game.  I would like to see a multiplayer mode, or an on-line mode in which two people could play the same grid, at the same time, and battle against one another.

Trap!, at a Glance:

  • Learning curve: 4 out of 5 – This game is very easy to pick up but can be difficult to master
  • Graphics: 3 out of 5 – The graphics aren’t capitalizing on the wow-factor by any means, but they serve their purpose
  • Sound: 0 out of 5 -  Unfortunately, there is no audio for this game. Easier to play during meetings :)
  • Replay: 4 out of 5 – Every game of Trap! works out differently.  Combine that with an insatiable desire to beat a friend’s high score or beat your own records and you’ll play forever
  • Options: 3 out of 5 – The game does allow for different modes such as training, normal or skill, but it would be nice to see mulitplayer functionality added in.
  • Fun: 5 out of 5 – I can’t stop playing it!

Trap! was developed by Matt Wachowski and is available for download on the Android Market today for free.  Check it out and let us know what you think.

BTW, my current high score is 135,054.



  • Abhiroop

    Have you ever played this game on the computer? It is very old and I remember playing about 10-15 years ago. I can't remember the name but the premise was identical (albeit without the powerups)

  • brombomb

    This is the first game I got on my G1 and its still installed today. Though I don’t know why you are reviewing a game that’s over 6 months old.

    It used to be on the ti 83 as jezball, but I don’t know if thats its original name.

    • Matt

      Actually, this game is at least 10 months old :) I remember playing this last winter!

      The author clearly needs to play some more Android games. Robo Defense is still my favorite…

  • http://thisandroidlife.blogspot.com Merago

    I wasn't so keen on this one. I found it fiddly to play and often unresponsive to my input (but that may have been that I was just playing it wrong!). I do remember playing similar games back on my C64 and loving them.

  • lietkynes

    it's called Volfied :)

  • James Roche

    I LOVE THIS GAME Its a great time waster.

  • BackInAction

    It is basically Qix (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qix) which was originally released in 1981. That said, it is a fun game.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/ckcin nick carrasco

    heehee I use to play this game on my desktop (replaced Tetris for mindless fun) then got rid of it for productivity reasons… then when it arrived for Android… well after a few months I had to remove it again for productivity reasons, but I think it is time to bring it back.

  • Eric H.

    bummer, I had searched on the android market about a month ago for both "JezzBall" and "Qix" to see if someone had developed a game like this. I am about 3/4 the way through with making a Jezzball clone just like this game to teach me how to develop for android. Kinda disheartening to find out that after all my work there is already an identical product out there. Ah well, i guess it was still a good learning experience, although I probably will not release the game now.

    • Kevin

      DOOOO IT!

      Just expand on this framework and make more features.

  • http://koffiekitten.com lisa

    It's a nice game but just TOO UGLY, such a shame.

  • http://www.thephonehelpline.com/How-to-dry-a-wet-phone/Y2009-08-17.htm Wet mobile Phone

    it is used to be on the ti83 as the jezball,but i am not confirm as it is original or not

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  • cookie

    the game is addicting lol… my highscore is just a little shy of 3 mill:)

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  • Ktub39

    i love this game but wanna play it on my lap top can we get it online as i cant find it help me please lol

  • Dawoudg

    My current high score is 9,056,080. I can’t find the high score list on the internet attendee any where

  • Dawoudg

    My current high score is 9,056,080. I can’t find the high score list on the internet attendee any where

  • Gbtcrunner

    Just got a high score of over 11,800,000! Anyone top that?

  • jimbo

    Still playing and am currently over level 185 with a score of over 1 billion.

  • jimbo

    Now on level 217 with a score of over 1.8 billion.

  • jimbo

    Something strange happened.  Got to level 235 with a score of 2,124,331,463 and shortly after that the score changes to the same number but with a negative value.  Now it’s counting down toward zero.  I’m using version 1.5.2.  Anyone else have this happen?

    • Judge Gideon

      I’m assuming it’s because Matt Wachowski (creator of Trap!) used a integer for the scoring accumulator.

      In programming, depending on the language and platform, each number or piece of data needs to have an address in memory…and a data type.
      In lay terms, it’s sort of like the size of his yard. Even though he might not use all his yard, he can only go as far as his fence line.

      4 bytes:
      −2,147,483,648 to 2,147,483,647

      It seems that your score rolled over the upper boundary of the designated “int” data type…and is now in the negatives counting back up to zero.

  • Wpbeal

    getting over a billion points in this game means you have absolutely no life.

  • Mjohns3

    Anyone care to comment on their strategy?

    Basically, I spend the first few seconds of every level trapping balls into their own area.  Then I sit around waiting to get the bonus tokens in as little area as possible until I get very near 75%.  Then I try to get a large area to get the over 80% bonus.  Sometimes I run out of time and no more bonus tokens come.  Then I just concentrate on the over 80% bonus.  You can really build up a lot of speed and extra life tokens this way.

    The real “money” is the ghost balls.  When I get that one I just try to maximize the trapped area asap.

  • Judge Gideon

    mine is over 77 million :)
    i have more turbos and extra lives, they’re off the screen…i lost count.
    same game for 3 days and no end in sight.
    something between 40 or 50 balls bouncing at once

    • Judge Gideon

      MY STRATEGY:1. Isolate all balls2. Collect as many Turbo & Extra Life bonus items as possible3. Ignore “Bonus Time” until I’m ready to clear 75% of the board4. Collect as many Multiplier Coins as possible5. Avoid collecting Ghost Balls too early6. Collect Ball Freeze items to help isolate balls and collect other bonus items in fast ball regions7. Collect all “fuzzy” Mystery Items, even though they are random8. When the multiplier number is high enough and I approach 75% of the board cleared, I start collecting Bonus Time rings9. Then, quickly clear the board10. If I get Ghost Balls and my Bonus Time is low, avoid all items except Bonus Time rings, then clear the board quicklyBonus time will run out…don’t worry about it until you’re ready to finish the board.Focus on Bonus Time Rings…jack up your Bonus Time score, then finish.Don’t be tempted by items you don’t need!Also, take your time and avoid costly mistakes…let the Turbo do its job.Scoring:Time Bonus x Item Bonus (coins) x Area Bonus x Greater than 80% Bonus (Each 5% over 75% adds to this) x Islated BallsSo, if your Time Bonus runs down, keep collecting coins to jack up the second multiplier, then nab the Bonus Time rings and finish!Your base bonus time increases each level. Eventually, it will be in the thousands and you can finish with a pretty decent score without collecting Bonus Time rings.When you approach 75%, jack up the Bonus Time, then try to get over 80% of the board cleared in a single move.

  • Wdp_freak

    295 million points level 55/56 im loving it I don’t work and outta school so this kills alot of time!

  • Wdp_freak

    ok 631 million now…so wpbeal..no i do not have a life im being medically discharged im fully retired and only 21 so i get bored and it kills time….so its cool im a loser and cool with it

  • http://blog.letteddywin.com presidents_race

    LOL I love this app, but feel like I mastered it on my Galaxy S.  Current game is at level 40 with 18 million points and no end in sight, so I was relieved to come on here and find that I am still 2 billion shy of some other users!  I will now humbly move on because I really hope I have a new phone before I ever have enough hours to hit 1 billion points!!!

  • Wdp_freak

    level 126 score 1,983,130,008

  • Andrei

    you should try ‘Border Lines HD’ … similar game but better in my opinion

    play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=ro.borderLines

  • Lena Sledge

    My current score is 157 million. And I’m still playing the same game. I’m aiming for a billion,

  • Lena Sledge

    Need this for my iPad. Needs to make an app for it

  • wdp_freak

    Disabled veteran….it maxes out at 2.14 billion then your score added subtracts itself.