Brian Wurster has released Tangrams [App Store] to the App Store. The $2.99 puzzle game brings a classic Chinese puzzle to the iPhone. The game involves seven geometric shapes which you must arrange to match the silhouette shown. No pieces may overlap and all pieces must be used.

Here's a sample of one of the early puzzles. Before and after:

   

Tangrams offers over 400 puzzles and naturally uses the iPhone's touch capability to drag pieces around on the screen. When all the pieces are in place, the game confirms the solution.

Another Tangram game that has been in the App Store for a bit longer is TanZen [App Store]. This version of the game is also $2.99 and offers "over 100 puzzles" but with promises of more to come in future updates.

TanZen offers a free form rotation with two thumbs while Tangrams allows you to rotate in 45 degree increments with a single tap. In the end, I found the Tangrams single-tap interface easier to use, though TanZen was more visually appealing. It seems I wasn't the only one as the TanZen developer notes that "due to popular demand", the next version will have single finger rotation.

Fortunately, Little White Bear Studies does offer a Lite version of their game called TanZen Lite [Free, App Store] so you can try before you buy.

App store links: Tangrams ($2.99), TanZen ($2.99), TanZen Lite (Free)

TouchArcade Rating

  • Little White Bear Studios

    Thanks for the write up, Touch Arcade! The next update of TanZen is currently in review with Apple, and we hope it will be on the App Store within the week. This update includes the following:

    - Single finger rotation!
    - Puzzle reset
    - Twice as many puzzles as before, which brings us to over 200! And each future update will always have more puzzles.

    We'd like to thank everyone who has downloaded TanZen, and TanZen Lite. We're blown away by all the positive responses!

  • Little White Bear Studios

    Thanks for the write up, Touch Arcade! The next update of TanZen is currently in review with Apple, and we hope it will be on the App Store within the week. This update includes the following:

    - Single finger rotation!
    - Puzzle reset
    - Twice as many puzzles as before, which brings us to over 200! And each future update will always have more puzzles.

    We'd like to thank everyone who has downloaded TanZen, and TanZen Lite. We're blown away by all the positive responses!

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  • Brett

    Dangit! I bought TanZen just yesterday, without realising there was another app to choose from.
    And having zipped through quite of a lot of the puzzles already, I'm thinking maybe TanZen's 100 puzzles (at present) are not going to last me very long, compared to Tangram's 400. I just hope that the puzzles in TanZen get more difficult as I progress through them.

    Although the interface for TanZen is MUCH better than Tangrams, I do find the rotation method rather frustrating at present. I hope that one-finger rotation fix comes soon.
    But not only that - currently, you can rotate pieces to ANY angle. Surely a "snap-to" 90-degrees option would be better, because there's no point in rotating a piece, say, 33 degrees, is there?

    Don't get me wrong though... I LOVE this game, and would recommend it to others contemplating purchasing it - TanZen that is - I'm just hoping the rotation-fix and additional (hopefully more complex) puzzles solve my two main issues with the game at present.

  • Brett

    Dangit! I bought TanZen just yesterday, without realising there was another app to choose from.
    And having zipped through quite of a lot of the puzzles already, I'm thinking maybe TanZen's 100 puzzles (at present) are not going to last me very long, compared to Tangram's 400. I just hope that the puzzles in TanZen get more difficult as I progress through them.

    Although the interface for TanZen is MUCH better than Tangrams, I do find the rotation method rather frustrating at present. I hope that one-finger rotation fix comes soon.
    But not only that - currently, you can rotate pieces to ANY angle. Surely a "snap-to" 90-degrees option would be better, because there's no point in rotating a piece, say, 33 degrees, is there?

    Don't get me wrong though... I LOVE this game, and would recommend it to others contemplating purchasing it - TanZen that is - I'm just hoping the rotation-fix and additional (hopefully more complex) puzzles solve my two main issues with the game at present.

  • Brett

    Wish there was an Edit Post button...

    Anyway, my post above was more about my opinions of TanZen. Now having had a closer look at Tangrams, I'm pretty confident I made the right choice in purchasing TanZen.

    Even though I haven't played Tangrams, it's pretty plain to see that the UI for TanZen is MUCH better on two counts:

    Firstly, merely cosmetically and aesthetically, it's just so much more attractive to look at.

    And secondly, and this is quite important, and which I think the original reviewer should have picked up on, is that in Tangrams, the sizes of the various pieces in the pick-up area are not the same size as they will be when you place them in the playing area!
    To me, that's a seemingly small, but actually quite big problem. That means you can't see at a glance what pieces need to go into what areas, because their sizes do not correspond to each other. If you know what I mean...

    Also, less of an issue, but still indicative of a well-thought out UI, is that with TanZen, all the pieces you have to work with are right there in front of you. Tangrams on the other hand, only has ONE of each shape in the pick-up area, but indicates to you that there are in fact TWO pieces for shape with a little number (2) above the shape.

    With TanZen, it's just so much clearer and obvious what pieces you have to work with, what shape AND size they are, and how many of them there are.

  • Brett

    Wish there was an Edit Post button...

    Anyway, my post above was more about my opinions of TanZen. Now having had a closer look at Tangrams, I'm pretty confident I made the right choice in purchasing TanZen.

    Even though I haven't played Tangrams, it's pretty plain to see that the UI for TanZen is MUCH better on two counts:

    Firstly, merely cosmetically and aesthetically, it's just so much more attractive to look at.

    And secondly, and this is quite important, and which I think the original reviewer should have picked up on, is that in Tangrams, the sizes of the various pieces in the pick-up area are not the same size as they will be when you place them in the playing area!
    To me, that's a seemingly small, but actually quite big problem. That means you can't see at a glance what pieces need to go into what areas, because their sizes do not correspond to each other. If you know what I mean...

    Also, less of an issue, but still indicative of a well-thought out UI, is that with TanZen, all the pieces you have to work with are right there in front of you. Tangrams on the other hand, only has ONE of each shape in the pick-up area, but indicates to you that there are in fact TWO pieces for shape with a little number (2) above the shape.

    With TanZen, it's just so much clearer and obvious what pieces you have to work with, what shape AND size they are, and how many of them there are.

  • Little White Bear Studios

    Brett,

    Hey, thanks for the kind words about TanZen! You will love the single finger rotation that is currently in review with Apple. Just drag your finger along the ring, and it will rotate. Speaking of rotation, I need to correct you on something. The rotation is not free. It always snaps at 15 degree angles. Most tangram apps snap at 45 degree angles, which can be very jarring visually, and limits the number of puzzles you can create with those pieces. So really, in TanZen, you are never more than two "clicks" away from a 45 degree angle. And going with 15 degrees allows us to create much harder puzzles in the future, which is something you mentioned you were interested in.

    Anyway, thanks again for the kind words, and remember, the update will double the number of puzzles to over 200. And each future update will include more puzzles, if that's any consolation to you for the difference in the number of current puzzles between the two apps.

  • Little White Bear Studios

    Brett,

    Hey, thanks for the kind words about TanZen! You will love the single finger rotation that is currently in review with Apple. Just drag your finger along the ring, and it will rotate. Speaking of rotation, I need to correct you on something. The rotation is not free. It always snaps at 15 degree angles. Most tangram apps snap at 45 degree angles, which can be very jarring visually, and limits the number of puzzles you can create with those pieces. So really, in TanZen, you are never more than two "clicks" away from a 45 degree angle. And going with 15 degrees allows us to create much harder puzzles in the future, which is something you mentioned you were interested in.

    Anyway, thanks again for the kind words, and remember, the update will double the number of puzzles to over 200. And each future update will include more puzzles, if that's any consolation to you for the difference in the number of current puzzles between the two apps.

  • Brett

    Aah, right, OK, I stand corrected then. I haven't yet encountered a puzzle that requires a piece to be rotated through a mere 15-degrees, so was wondering what the purpose of this small rotation was.
    I look forward to the update and the more challenging puzzles then.

  • Brett

    Aah, right, OK, I stand corrected then. I haven't yet encountered a puzzle that requires a piece to be rotated through a mere 15-degrees, so was wondering what the purpose of this small rotation was.
    I look forward to the update and the more challenging puzzles then.

  • http://www.brianwurster.com/tangrams Brian Wurster

    Brett,
    I appreciate the feedback you left in response to my application Tangrams. Everyone has a different aesthetic perspective and my goal was to provide a clean uncluttered interface. I appreciate and respect your opinion and will take it into consideration for coming updates. Since you haven't played my version I suggest you give it a try as well, I think you will find the controls very enjoyable and easy to use.

    In the end, I feel they are both very polished applications and obviously show a lot of hard work and effort went into them. My recommendation to anyone looking for a Tangrams app would be to give both a try and see what appeals to you. That's kind of the beauty of the AppStore in my opinion, there's almost no risk with a $2.99 game and room to try out lots of things.

    Best wishes to you both

  • http://www.brianwurster.com/tangrams Brian Wurster

    Brett,
    I appreciate the feedback you left in response to my application Tangrams. Everyone has a different aesthetic perspective and my goal was to provide a clean uncluttered interface. I appreciate and respect your opinion and will take it into consideration for coming updates. Since you haven't played my version I suggest you give it a try as well, I think you will find the controls very enjoyable and easy to use.

    In the end, I feel they are both very polished applications and obviously show a lot of hard work and effort went into them. My recommendation to anyone looking for a Tangrams app would be to give both a try and see what appeals to you. That's kind of the beauty of the AppStore in my opinion, there's almost no risk with a $2.99 game and room to try out lots of things.

    Best wishes to you both

  • Little White Bear Studios

    Brian,

    I agree completely. From what I can tell, our games take on tangrams in completely different ways, which I think is a good thing. Not everyone will like the way TanZen tackles the problem, and vice versa. I believe the market is big enough for both products. Good luck to you!

  • Little White Bear Studios

    Brian,

    I agree completely. From what I can tell, our games take on tangrams in completely different ways, which I think is a good thing. Not everyone will like the way TanZen tackles the problem, and vice versa. I believe the market is big enough for both products. Good luck to you!

  • Little White Bear Studios

    Brett,

    Sometime we're going to sneak in a 15 degree puzzle when you least expect it! Thanks again for playing!

  • Little White Bear Studios

    Brett,

    Sometime we're going to sneak in a 15 degree puzzle when you least expect it! Thanks again for playing!

  • WhySoSerious

    TanZen: i love this game.....LOVE IT. thanks for bringing it to the iphone. i look forward to the revised rotate function too, because the current method is very awkward. i also appreciate your promise to bring new puzzles each and every update....hopefully you have many frequent updates!

    I'm hoping to see more difficult puzzles in the future though. Since you offer 15 degree rotation, I think that would open the doors for implementing harder to solve puzzles.

    thanks again!

  • WhySoSerious

    TanZen: i love this game.....LOVE IT. thanks for bringing it to the iphone. i look forward to the revised rotate function too, because the current method is very awkward. i also appreciate your promise to bring new puzzles each and every update....hopefully you have many frequent updates!

    I'm hoping to see more difficult puzzles in the future though. Since you offer 15 degree rotation, I think that would open the doors for implementing harder to solve puzzles.

    thanks again!

  • Little White Bear Studios

    WhySoSerious,

    We're very happy you love TanZen! Hopefully Apple will see fit to get the update on the store soon, so you can enjoy more puzzles, and easier rotation. Have fun with the game!

  • Little White Bear Studios

    WhySoSerious,

    We're very happy you love TanZen! Hopefully Apple will see fit to get the update on the store soon, so you can enjoy more puzzles, and easier rotation. Have fun with the game!

  • Brett

    Speaking of this whole rotation issue, since I visited your website and saw that there was actually a much easier way to rotate the pieces, which for some reason you don't show in your tutorial in the actual game itself, I now have no problems with how to rotate the pieces.
    What I am referring to is, in the game's own built-in tutorial, you only show the "two thumbs on the circle" method, whereas in the video on your website, you show the much easier method of one finger ANYWHERE on the screen and the other finger on the circle to rotate. This method is so much easier! Why didn't you show this method in the game's tutorial?
    Video here: http://www.littlewhitebearstudios.com/support.html

  • Brett

    Speaking of this whole rotation issue, since I visited your website and saw that there was actually a much easier way to rotate the pieces, which for some reason you don't show in your tutorial in the actual game itself, I now have no problems with how to rotate the pieces.
    What I am referring to is, in the game's own built-in tutorial, you only show the "two thumbs on the circle" method, whereas in the video on your website, you show the much easier method of one finger ANYWHERE on the screen and the other finger on the circle to rotate. This method is so much easier! Why didn't you show this method in the game's tutorial?
    Video here: http://www.littlewhitebearstudios.com/support.html

  • Little White Bear Studios

    Good question, Brett. We didn't include it, as we felt it was more of a power user feature, and we didn't want to confuse the player with too many movement choices. Also, putting the finger anywhere on the screen could lead to accidental selection of a different piece, which could be confusing to the player. We're happy you found a way to rotate that works for you, though! Our whole intention with the two finger rotation was to differentiate a rotate from a move action. We were trying to give those players who have to use the very wide, flat, part of their fingers, due to having long fingernails, a way to see the pieces while they are placing them. So we allowed movement over the entire ring area, which lets you see the piece almost entirely, even though you are moving it. Obviously, the two finger rotation did not sit right with a number of players, so we have gone back and solved the problem in a different way, which should make things easier for everyone. Hopefully, it a couple days, this will be a non-issue, as single finger rotation is included in the update that is being reviewed by Apple right now.

  • Little White Bear Studios

    Good question, Brett. We didn't include it, as we felt it was more of a power user feature, and we didn't want to confuse the player with too many movement choices. Also, putting the finger anywhere on the screen could lead to accidental selection of a different piece, which could be confusing to the player. We're happy you found a way to rotate that works for you, though! Our whole intention with the two finger rotation was to differentiate a rotate from a move action. We were trying to give those players who have to use the very wide, flat, part of their fingers, due to having long fingernails, a way to see the pieces while they are placing them. So we allowed movement over the entire ring area, which lets you see the piece almost entirely, even though you are moving it. Obviously, the two finger rotation did not sit right with a number of players, so we have gone back and solved the problem in a different way, which should make things easier for everyone. Hopefully, it a couple days, this will be a non-issue, as single finger rotation is included in the update that is being reviewed by Apple right now.

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