Category Archives: Puzzle

World-Shifting Puzzler 'Splitter Critters' Set to Launch Next Week on the App Store

The beauty of the App Store is that, every once in a while, you'll come across a game that has such remarkable and unique mechanics it will still impress you, even after you think you've seen it all when it comes to mobile gaming. Splitter Critters is the latest upcoming iOS release that has shocked me in such a way - the ability to slice and manipulate the environment to help your Lemmings-esque characters find their way back to their spaceship is extremely clever, and perfectly suited to touch screen controls. We first heard about Splitter Critters back in October, and while the game missed its initial late 2016 release date, developer RAC7 has confirmed on their Twitter account that their latest title is set to launch next week on the App Store...

It's been over two years since we were initially enamoured by the iOS port of A Dark Room [$0.99]. Having started off as an open-source release on PC from Canadian developer Michael Townsend, A Dark Room's eventual transition to the App Store by Amir Rajan managed to capture a cult following with its incredibly basic and minimalist take on the RPG genre, culminating in a stint as #1 paid game on the UK store. However, A Dark Room was not the only product of Townsend's abundant talent - Gridland also released on PC in 2014, and was a quirky match-three title that entrusted you with the task of lining up resources to grow your town during the day, while fighting off beastly creatures at night. While Gridland was initially playable within Safari, it never made the same transition to the App Store as A Dark Room. Thankfully, over two years later, we got something even better - Super Gridland [$1.99] has today showed up on the App Store, and retains the compulsive charm of its predecessor, whilst revamping the graphical style and presentation to result in one of the first essential puzzle titles for the iPhone in 2017...




You haven't heard from me in a couple days because I temporarily traded TouchArcade Towers for King Entertainment's Studios in Barcelona, Spain, and the reason I was there was the launch of Bubble Witch 3 Saga [Free], the new addition to the Bubble Witch franchise that has just released worldwide. If you haven't played the previous two games, Bubble Witch is King's take on bubble popping, which hasn't managed to gain the traction of King's megahit, Candy Crush. Still, the Bubble Witch franchise is quite fun, and the new entry tries to shake up both the franchise and the genre...

2016 was renowned for its famous deaths, and unfortunately mobile was not exempt from such a tragic series of events. The news that Bulkypix had declared bankruptcy in August of last year was met with a vast array of mixed emotions - while many sympathised with the publisher for going under, as they had brought to prominence a lot of hidden gems on the App Store, most were incensed by their poor treatment of the developers under their wing during this period. Despite this, some creators risen from the ashes of Bulkypix's unfortunate demise and have taken this chance to further build and expand on their games, and Keybol is one such developer. With Pretentious Game [Free] now back under their control, the developer has planned to add a whole new Chapter 5 to the title, which is set to launch as a free update (for anyone who has already purchased the Chapters pack) on February 1st...

Developer Astrograde Lab had planned on releasing their new puzzle adventure game this past Wednesday night alongside all of the other new releases of the week and didn't quite make it in time, but as of this morning their game Shards of Memories [$1.99] finally worked its way through Apple approval and arrived on the App Store. Shards of Memories has you piecing together pieces of various objects tangram-style, and the solved puzzles themselves are actually pieces of the storyline in the game, which based on this trailer seems like it might get a big heavy at times...

The gravity gun from Half-Life 2 is a dramatically underutilized tool in games. What felt so cool and revolutionary in 2004 has since been stuck to just one game. Kind of like how there were rumblings that the portal gun would show up in a future Half-Life 2 episode, and other games with portals like Portal have popped up. Thanks to Island Delta [$2.99], it has reminded me of how clever an idea the gravity gun. But also, it serves as a reminder of how a tool that requires good physics also requires good design to be used effectively...

Mini Metro [$4.99] is a wonderful game, with our very own Mr. Shaun Musgrave giving it a full five stars in his review earlier today. When I first saw it, I thought I was looking at a real metro map (I've had to use trains for many years, so those kinds of diagrams are seared in my memory). That's no accident, apparently, because according to Jarrett Walker, a public transit consultant, Mini Metro is more than just an entertaining game with a metro theme; it's actually a great tool that teaches sound principles of network design that can come in handy to anyone professionally involved in designing city networks. His blog covers how accurate the game is - even though it wasn't designed to really be accurate - and the steps needed to make it more accurate if one was inclined to do so...

If you enjoy playing King Rabbit [Free] but wanted more levels, here's your chance to help with the game's upcoming level editor. As the developer, RareSloth, pointed out in our forum thread, the team consists of only 2 guys, so making enough levels to keep up with your voracious appetite has been a challenge from the get-go. For example, they would spend weeks building new levels only to have players complete them in a day or even less. So, they decided to turn the responsibility of making new levels to the players by making a level builder. The level builder will both offer more entertainment to players but also allow the developers to move to a new project while keeping King Rabbit alive...

Last year Nitrome released a very silly and clever puzzler called Silly Sausage in Meat Land [Free] where your goal was to stretch a freakishly flexible dog from point to point all while strategically avoiding various types of hazards on your way to each checkpoint. It was a lot of fun, and we really enjoyed Silly Sausage in Meat Land in our review. Well, the stretchy dog shenanigans were far from over as in September Nitrome announced a sequel, and as of this morning Silly Sausage: Doggy Dessert [Free] is now available. Expect more crazy puzzling as in the first game, but with a truckload more sugary sweets. That's desserts, not deserts, for those keeping score at home...

Just last week those sneaky folks at Noodlecake decided to squeeze one final release in before 2016 closes out when they announced that they'd be publishing a clever new puzzle platformer from Mantisbite Games and releasing it this week just before the iTunes freeze. Well, it slipped past the normal weekly roundup but that game Island Delta [$2.99] is finally now available. Island Delta sees you using a gravity gun not unlike the famous version from Half-Life 2 as you pick up objects, toss them about, and generally use your unique ability to solve various puzzles and work your way through an evil villain's vast facilities...

Marvel Puzzle Quest [Free] continues to pump more and more characters into the game, and this time around it's Thanos' turn to join the game. There are two Thanos variations coming to the game, a 3-Star Thanos (Modern) and a 5-star Thanos (Classic). Both of them will arrive in the game on Thursday, December 22nd. As expected, the new characters are coming with all kinds of events both to celebrate Thanos and for the holidays. There's a new Thanos PVE event called Crash of the Mad Titan, a Thanos Versus Tournament called Behold Thanos, and more...

Square Enix's three GO games, Deus Ex GO, Lara Croft GO, and Hitman GO, are perfect examples of how to take an IP that was originally on another platform and turn it into a mobile game that while different in looks and gameplay, still retains the spirit of the original game. Square Enix has decided to make a nice bundle of all three GO games called The GO Trilogy for $4.99, which is a great deal when the original games aren't on sale. Remember, if you just have one or two of the games in the bundle, you can get the remaining for pretty cheap...

Magic: The Gathering - Puzzle Quest [Free], the most fun you can have with Magic cards on iOS, is celebrating its one year anniversary in a couple of days, so the game's getting a big update that includes 184 cards from the Kaladesh set, Magic's latest card set. Kaladesh is a really cool card set that includes vehicles, huge constructs, and all kinds of other cards not usually seen in Magic. The set comes with 4 new mechanics: Energize, Overload, Fabricate, and Crew. You can read all about those mechanics in detail here. If you want to check out all the Kaladesh cards coming to the game, go here...

If you are one of the many who enjoyed Square Enix's Lara Croft GO [$1.99], the build-for-mobile puzzle game starring the famous Brit, then rejoice because a new DLC called Mirror of Spirits is heading to mobile in a few months. Mirror of Spirits won't be made by Square Enix but by KO_OP Mode instead. The new DLC looks fun and complex in a good way, so I can't wait to get my hands on it. It looks like there's a new mechanic in the DLC judging from the mirror tricks we see in the trailer. Mirror of Spirits will come out as a PlayStation exclusive and then will hit PC around March, so maybe that's the month that's coming on mobile, too...

Marvel Puzzle Quest [Free] has been adding new characters frequently, and this time around we are getting Medusa, Queen of the Inhumans. As producers Josh Austin explained, Medusa won the poll that the developers conducted over the summer, so it looks like the players really wanted her in the game. She's designed to be a support character that can also cause damage while healing the team, if you know how to play her that is. Her hair appropriately can shake the board up by generating health, gaining additional AP, causing damage, or even swapping random tiles and stealing any swapped enemy special tiles. In other words, she can be a pain. Her abilities are all about messing with the opponent's tiles and turning the battle around all by herself. The Queen of the Inhumans is available starting today...

After what has felt like a horribly long and drawn out 2016, it's finally December, which brings with it a whole host of yearly traditions. Forget the holidays, advent calendars, snowmen and the like - for iOS gaming, it's the inevitable 'Best of 2016' lists which will begin to emerge amongst both critics and consumers, and while there will be some heated arguments along the way, it's a great time to evaluate the past twelve months and revisit some of the classics that have released on our favorite touchscreen platform. For me personally, one of the first games that comes to mind is Human Resource Machine [$4.99] - its programming-based puzzles were extremely compelling and suited to mobile, which coupled with some subtle yet supremely clever presentation resulted in an essential App Store release when it launched back in June. Today, Android gamers can join in the fun, as Human Resource Machine has finally launched on Google Play for $4.99, which is a bargain for the amount of frustration and fun you will get out of Tommorow Corporation's latest release...

Despite their overabundance in the formative years of the App Store's existence, I'm always incredibly excited to try out new match three games on iOS, as the sheer popularity of the genre forces developers to go the extra mile to stand out amongst the crowd. Swap Sword [$2.99] is one such title - while you are still tasked with matching similar tiles, you must also move the protagonist around through the eponymous sword swipes and a whole range of alternative lethal abilities at your disposal. With some stunning pixel art to boot - one would expect no less from the graphical geniuses behind Sunburn [$2.99] - this match three and roguelike amalgamation looked incredibly exciting when we first took a glimpse at it last week. While a December 1st release date was suggested, those who have been eagerly anticipating Swap Sword will be glad to know the game has launched early, and you can now slay creatures and competitors alike on the App Store...

A few weeks ago, we wrote that Candy Crush [Free] was going to become a TV game show, and now it seems CBS is ready to recruit players for it. The network has sent out a nationwide open casting call today, so here's your chance to be on TV. Contestants will be playing in the Candy Crush Arena in teams of two, and you can either apply on your own (and get matched with someone you don't know) or apply with a teammate. You and your teammate will take on the obstacles of the Candy Kingdom that will be, unsurprisingly, all about match-3. The game's executive producer said that they are looking for fun, outgoing Candy Crush players who want to compete on the "biggest, swipeable, interactive board game ever created." And just in case you were wondering, there will be a big crash prize at the end of all that candy...

'Yankai's Triangle' Review - A Game with Kaleidoscope Eyes

Yankai's Triangle [$2.99] is weird. It seems to have a never-ending number of stages. Sometimes it looks at you. The colors are subdued one level, then shockingly bright the next. The scoring system is hard to make sense of. Everything is a little grainy. The eyes are watching. You might run into an absurdly difficult level followed by an astonishingly simple one immediately after. Before each level there are some symbols that mean something, but it's hard to say what unless you really watch carefully. Sometimes there are teeth. The game also introduces each and every level with a title card saying the level number followed with "by Kenny Sun". Perhaps the weirdest thing of all is that you're not doing much more than spinning triangles around, trying to match colors to make bigger triangles, and yet it's nearly impossible to put down...

When Lumines Puzzle & Music [$2.99] launched in September, we were big fans - the rhythm-centric block puzzler was a fitting tribute to the original PSP game that won over so many gamers back in 2004, while still being relevant in 2016 with new modern developments that the series had picked up over its existence. If there was one flaw to Lumines Puzzle & Music, however, it'd be that with only a limited number of game modes and music tracks, there wasn't a whole lot to entice players who had played through all the options that the latest title had to offer. However, even more content is set to roll out for Lumines Puzzle & Music over the next week - today, an album pack from the hit Japanese pop band Sekai no Owari has been made available to download, and on 21 November a special set of tracks from the psychedelic cult rail shooter Rez is also to be rolled out for the mobile version of Lumines...

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