Puzzle games come in all shapes and sizes on the current marketplace. Some of them are more action oriented than others, but often times the most rewarding puzzler is one that lets you really sit and think before acting. In other words, a game that truly tests your wits and mettle in ways that faster-paced titles couldn't, forcing you to really dig deep down and bust out every bit of critical thinking you can muster. Like the classic Incredible Machine series, Eets Munchies [$2.99 (HD)] does just that -- but with an adorable (and sometimes creepy) rabbit mascot.
Similar to Lemmings, Eets the rabbit is controlled entirely by way of the AI. You'll have to guide him through a given stage by placing and interacting with different items. The goal is a giant cake at the end, but similar to many other mobile games there's a "three star" system where you can collect pieces of candy to up your rating and unlock new levels faster -- think Cut the Rope.
To help him along you'll use specific puzzle pieces that are preordained for each stage -- early on, you might be at the mercy of a bunch of planks, but you'll quickly pick up items like chili peppers that make Eets jump farther, or explosives that can detonate a path for him. These objects come in two flavors -- items that can be placed with no interference once the round starts, and items that can be tapped or manipulated.
This creates an interesting dichotomy between the two, as you'll often have to perfectly place a chili pepper, so when Eets gets blown onto a certain platform by a gust of wind he'll be able to eat it without falling off a ledge. It's a smart way to go about trial and error gameplay, since you can immediately stop a failed run, adjust, and let it rip within seconds. The only real rival of expedience is the lengthy load times between levels.
While the later levels in any given environment are sure to excite (and frustrate -- in a good way), the earlier sets in most zones are simply too simplistic. At the very start of the game it makes perfect sense to acclimate players to the show, but eventually you'd think they'd want to run wild as soon as possible with the concept. The good news is Eets does unchain itself quite often, but you'll have to drudge through the occasional wasted level to do it.
Everything is controlled through the touch screen interface, and outside of some issues that occur when rotating certain objects, it's pretty easy to flit everything around. Since Eets doesn't go until you tell him to, there's very little room for frustration when you can just adjust something manually before pulling the trigger.
If you're tired of doing the stages that the developer has crafted for you, you can move on to the in-game level editor. It basically has all of the tools from the core game at your fingertips, which are unlocked along the way in story mode. Thankfully, this feature is fully built into the game you paid for, and not an IAP. In fact there are no IAPs in the game, which is sadly not the norm these days. It's a shame that you can't fully share your creations online, though.
Eets Munchies is a satisfying and complete puzzle game, and given the included level editor you could spend a ton of time playing around in its world. I kind of wish some of the puzzles were a bit more inventive and a tad less remedial, but the latter arenas will have you satisfyingly scratching your head.
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