Category Archives: Puzzle

So many modern games carry the 'sandbox' moniker without truly being endless havens of experimentation like the genre label suggests. Yes, Horizon Zero Dawn, I don't remember any invisible walls in any hypothetical sandboxes I played in as a child! That being said, The Sandbox Evolution [Free] has come the closest to the anything-goes chaos that I desire from games that put an emphasis on experimentation, and an upcoming update to Pixowl's mobile phenomenon looks to add even more mayhem to the app. Suitably titled the 'Disasters 2' update, the developers have added in eight natural disasters to complement the Lightning, Earthquake, Tornado and Nuke options that are already present in the game, and should be a fun and cathartic way of bringing about destruction to your world's inhabitants when it releases on June 28th...

Hidden Folks [$3.99] is a lovely game that really feels made for touchscreens, and after adding more content to the game yesterday, its developers also posted a fun article on how the game's art and gameplay was created. Apparently, every part of the game is hand-drawn and then scanned into sprite sheets. The developers used a pretty mediocre scanner for the project, and when they got a new one, they realized the art looked very different and had to go back to the low-budget scanner they initially had. The post goes on to talk about how the developers go about putting together each scene, organically growing each sub-area gradually while at the same time adding scripts to certain visuals to make them interactive...




'Neo Angle', a Vibrant Puzzle Game From the Creators of 'Blyss', Is Looking for Beta Testers

Dropout Games have quickly developed a reputation for beautiful minimalistic puzzle games, and their emphasis on accessible gameplay that becomes deceptively difficult is one that suits mobile gaming to a tee. Last year the developers released Blyss [$0.99], which layered an ethereal aesthetic similar to indie hit Firewatch on top of an intuitive dice puzzle mechanic, and in practice it worked rather well. To keep up this momentum, Dropout Games have announced their latest title called Neo Angle, and while its vibrant neon style contrasts that of their previous title, the peculiar pattern-making gameplay looks incredibly cathartic. Not too many details have been released about Neo Angle as of yet, however the developers are looking for beta testers to help try out the game on our forum thread...

Huijaus Games and publisher Appsolute Games have been promising us Mr. Future Ninja [$3.99], a stylish stealth-action game, and finally it is here. And there it goes. The premise seemed incredibly promising, but the problem is that the game is just too short. Characters and puzzle types get introduced, and then by the time you think they're done introducing things and ready to start really, really testing you, well, the game is over. It's a fun experience up until that point, but I just wish there was more of it...

'Yankai's Peak' Review - Pyramid Perfection

'Yankai's Peak' Review - Pyramid Perfection

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June 14th, 2017 9:00 AM EDT by Shaun Musgrave in $1.99, 5 stars, Games, iPad Games, iPhone games, Puzzle, Reviews, Universal
$2.99 Buy Now

Developer Kenny Sun sure does like geometric shapes. His latest game is about pyramids, and just like his previous efforts, it's both bizarre and brilliant. Yankai's Peak [$2.99] might be titled like a sequel to last year's Yankai's Triangle [$2.99], but it's something totally new mechanically. While that game saw you spinning triangles around, disassembling them, and reassembling them to try to make them fit together, Yankai's Peak is more like a traditional Sokoban-style box-pusher. Instead of cooperative little squares, however, you're pushing around pyramids that aren't really good about moving in a straight line. The core mechanic is clever and rewarding, and the game sprinkles in new gimmicks regularly to keep you interested...

'Framed 2' Review - The Second Half of a Really Good Game

When I reviewed the original Framed [$3.99], I said "Given the brevity and lack of progression in the concept, this really does feel like half of a larger whole stretched out to fill one game." Holy crap was I right. Loveshack Entertainment decided to return to the concept with Framed 2 [$4.99] and the difference is night and day. I don't know if I have ever played a game where the second title in the series made the first one look like utter garbage in comparison, but that's exactly what Framed 2 does. It is exactly what the original game needed to feel like the genius title that the concept deserved...

I'm always keen to hear about some of my most treasured iOS games being updated to avoid the 32-bit Appocalypse that is approaching with the release of iOS 11, and amidst the business that is WWDC last week news of one such update just about slipped by me. Gesundheit! [$2.99 / $2.99 (HD)], the adorably grotesque stealth puzzler collaboration from Australian developer Revolutionary Concepts and artist Matt Hammill, originally released way back in July of 2011 and went on to win all sorts of fancy awards from all over the place, including our own glowing 5 star review. The game was well-maintained in the couple years following its release but hasn't seen any sort of update since early 2013. That changed last week with the release of a new update adding 64-bit support, higher resolution assets for larger iOS devices, and fixes for missing sound effects and music. If this is the first you've heard of Gesundheit! then definitely check out the trailer...

Mike Pawlowski's Art of Gravity [$0.99] is out now on iOS. It was announced for June 14th, and it's released today on June 13th, though it's the 14th in some parts of the world. Still, this is a bit of a nice early surprise for mobile gamers. This week is shaping up to be a big week, and hey, if you can get a start on some of the big titles early, why not take it?..

If you like horror movies from the 80s, with all the gory silliness and iconic walking killing machines, then you should be playing Slayaway Camp [$2.99], a game that evokes all those horror movies while still delivering a great sliding puzzle game. Today, the game received Update 1.3, and it's a fun one. The Super Summer Slasher update adds "deleted scenes," challenge levels that were deemed too tricky or too absurd to include in the game. They are optional and very hardcore, and each of them comes with behind-the-scenes commentary about the making of the game. And we are also getting iMessage Stickers, because nothing says I love you like voxel killers. The update also adds killer-specific camera filters, 3 new mystery killers, and much more...

'Monument Valley 2' Review - Mother and Child Reunited

The first Monument Valley [$3.99] was a landmark game on the App Store, a title that brought a fascinatingly gorgeous experience to mobile gaming. Yet, I thought there was something lacking from it: it wasn't a particularly difficult game as far as challenge goes, and while the story had some poignant moments, its abstraction perhaps was too disaffecting from the story the game wanted to tell. But certainly, critics of the game are in a notable minority, as the game has become one of the top-selling mobile games of all-time, spawned many imitators, appeared on House of Cards, and caused many people to fall in love with the characters from the game. So the sequel Monument Valley 2 [$4.99] is in an unenviable position where it has to try and recapture that magic of the original. And to a certain extent, it does: it's still a gorgeous game, and Ustwo are the masters of their craft at putting Escherian impossible geometry into a game experience. As a delivery vehicle for some gorgeous colors and landscapes, Monument Valley 2 is once again a success. As a game, and even at times as a story, Monument Valley 2 falls a bit short...

Framed [$3.99] has an ingenious premise behind it; move comic book panels around to change the outcome of the scene. When it was first announced a few years back, everyone was very excited to try it out. While the game had some issues, as we noted in our review when the game came out, it's still a fun game with great art, and it has gone free for the first time ever. This drop in price probably has to do with the recent announcement that Framed 2 is in development, which we posted about recently. Framed suffered from some very predictable puzzles—moving ladders around, rotating pathways, and so on—and a complete lack of narrative, which made players feel a bit lost and lacking an actual purpose outside escaping cops...

Monument Valley 2's [$4.99] release timing was pretty impeccable, with the game popping on the App Store during Apple's WWDC 17. And, of course, the game had the huge success of the original Monument Valley as a wind beneath its wings, so it shouldn't be surprising that according to Sensor Tower's numbers, Monument Valley 2 reached the top of the US App Store four times faster than the original game, which is pretty remarkable. It's hard to know how well the game will do in the long-run, especially because the fortunes of paid games on the App Store change according to the times...

Retro Puzzle Platformer 'Pocket Kingdom' Launching June 15th on the App Store

When we first heard about the tragic demise of Bulkypix last year, it led to much uncertainty surrounding the futures of many upcoming titles that were set to be released under the publisher's moniker. Thankfully, the extremely promising Pocket Kingdom from developers 08 Games is one such game that has safely navigated the trials and tribulations of the past twelve months, and greatly impressed us when we first caught a glimpse of it at GDC in March of 2016. With a distinct pixel art style that is reminiscent of old Amiga games with a new modern flair, and some inventive puzzle platforming mechanics that make the most of a variety of items and obstacles that can be encountered, Pocket Kingdom looks like essential love letter to gaming's past, and is releasing on June 15th for $2.99 on the App Store...

Everywhere you look today, you see Monument Valley 2 [$4.99] stories, which goes to show the impact the original Monument Valley made on the gaming community (and beyond) when it was released. To celebrate the release, Ustwo Games posted a behind-the-scenes video—made with the same artistry as the games—that's definitely worth your time. The video talks about the shift in focus in the new game and the way the developers see narrative and gameplay as intertwined. The developers emphasize the importance of telling a mother's story from her perspective rather than that of her children and hope to see parents and children experiencing the game together...

A few weeks back, we talked about King Rabbit [Free] developers looking for player-made levels to add to their upcoming Ruby expansion, and from what I've heard many of you responded to the call. Now the Ruby Expansion has gone live, and you can go play 64 levels that might include one of your own, if you are good at putting together puzzle levels. The expansion costs $1.99, but you get it for free if your level was selected. And those lucky enough to have levels selected also got a ton of diamonds (not the real ones, sorry) and their name displayed at the start of the level...

I've been a fan of The Sandbox series ever since the first entry in the series launched in 2012, as the unbridled freedom to do anything with a number of elements and tools at your disposal was extremely engrossing and perfectly suited to the iPhone's unique attributes. The sequel, titled The Sandbox Evolution [Free], has received periodical updates throughout its eleven month lifespan, and PixOwl's impressive commitment to its flagship title has seen tanks, zombies, and even Shrek enter the fray. Tomorrow marks the latest addition to The Sandbox Evolution, with an update bringing some complex contraptions that will cause even more chaos in your eclectic sandbox world...

Ball-rolling games have been around since the dawn of time, before electricity was even a thing, let alone OLED capacitive touch screens. They have also been an omnipresent force on the App Store from the very beginning, with titles such as Labyrinth 2 [$4.99] demonstrating the gyroscopic capabilities of the iPhone, and the genre has remained steadfast on iOS despite its inherently basic nature. However, this is by no means a slight at these sort of puzzle games - ball-rolling titles have evolved over the years to provide unique and memorable experiences. The Little Ball That Could [Free] marks the latest attempt at perfecting Marble Madness in a modern guise, and is available to download for free (with an in-app purchase to remove ads) on the App Store today...

It's hard to hear the word Faraway and not think of Eliss [$2.99] developer Steph Thirion's forever-in-development constellation creating game, but while I'm not sure if that one will ever actually see the light of day in the meantime there's a new Faraway in town that's stolen my heart. Officially titled Faraway: Puzzle Escape [Free], the game makes no bones about being a "modern tribute" to the all-time classic Myst. You'll explore 18 different temple ruins solving various types of puzzles in order to open the path ahead and continue marching onward. There's also quite a bit to discover, too, including hidden pages from your father's diary which will help flesh out the story and explain why you're doing what you're doing. Or you can just solve puzzles, it's up to you!..

As was hinted at last month, our little pal Red has gone to the casino in a new update for Red's Kingdom [$2.99] which just arrived this morning. Similar to the huge update the game received in early March, this latest update includes two new areas to explore, the fishing port called Roth Ennis and an area called Rath Crom which is home of the famous The Golden Nut casino, and more than 50 new levels to explore and solve. You can also expect to run into several new types of enemies and even some new puzzle mechanics...

Philipp Stollenmayer, aka Kamibox, is one of my favorite developers on mobile. Not only does he create absolute masterpieces like Pancake - The Game [Free], but he's also responsible for the brilliant platformer Sometimes You Die [$1.99] and several excellent puzzle games like Squaredance [Free], Okay? [Free], and Zip–Zap [$1.99]. That last one is the subject of a Game Design Deep Dive, an awesome feature over at Gamasutra that has developers explaining some of the finer points behind the games that they've made. The whole thing is worth a read, and is not very long, but two of the most interesting aspects I got out of it were: 1) Zip–Zap was originally a platformer and 2) that Stollenmayer actually created a really cool paper prototype of the game during development that sadly turned out to be totally useless...

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