Chip-Chain is an addicting little iOS game. Its premise is simple enough: Take turns placing chips down on the board with the CPU dealer, arranging them to connect like kinds. Connect three or more chips of the same numeric value vertically or horizontally, to create one chip of greater value. Do multiple connections of successively greater value, and you get chains and combos and all sorts of cool stuff. Points accumulate and it's great and addicting fun for a game that takes no money out of your bank account!

There are a number of game modes; ranging from short 40-chip games, to long survival games and time attack modes, which hare all available from the start. The caveat here, is that they rotate every day, so one mode may not be available every day.

Worry not! That's where gems come in. Gems are fancy little things you win with every match. You get more gems for higher scores, or you can buy gems with cold, hard cash. Gems unlock game modes, higher value chips and larger hands for "cards" (which are little random bonuses, such as increasing/decreasing card values, or moving chips after you've placed them.)

There's a pretty standard-fare leveling system too, as well as leader boards and score-keepers. All that stuff is expected of games these days, but it's nice to be able to see how your brain stacks up against the real Einsteins of the puzzler world. I actually currently hold the top spot for the 40-Chip short game, but I'm sure that will change shortly.

Typically, I don't like puzzle games. I'm more of the "me smash" kind of gamer, but Chip-chain was fun and addictive, on the same level as Bejweled or Zuma. I found that I was playing it at the office, when I was waiting in a long line or when I had small amounts of downtime between classes. It's well crafted, simple and fun, as well as easy to pick up and put down.

Five Words to Describe Chip-Chain

1. Free

2. Simple

3. Intuitive

4. Polished

5. Stimulating

Also, it's a part of the Jonathan Blow Indie Fund, which is a fund dedicated to the advancement of Indie Titles (such as this game.) Funding games like this is a fantastic way to ensure that future Indie titles will receive the same attention and polish that Chip-Chain did. So if you're a supporter of the Indie game market, dumping a couple bucks into Chip-Chain may not be a terrible loss. After all, it's basically what you'd spend on a coffee at Starbucks.

So if you like puzzle games, give Chip-Chain a shot. It's a well-crafted little game that will wick away a surprising amount of your free time. It would be great to give the kids on long car or plane rides, without rotting their brains away (like most of the games I play do to me.) It's a fun way to keep your mind thinking and your cognitive and spatial skills sharp.

Chip-Chain released today, and is available on the App Store.