Category Archives: Puzzle

There's an inherent joy in playing around with physics. In life, some of our earliest interactions with the external world involve playing around with physics to get a feel for the rules of reality. Even as fully-grown, educated, theoretically wise adults, we still get the urge to use our coffee spoon to launch the creamer at the person sitting at the table on the other side of the restaurant, just to see if we could. For a long time, games weren't terribly good at recreating satisfying physics along with all the other bits we tend to want in a game. There just wasn't enough computing power, time, or resources in general, and it wasn't a high priority. I maintain to this day that the reason Sonic The Hedgehog hit as powerfully as it did was due more to its solid physics engine than anything else. Any old character can go fast, but Sonic not only made us work for it, but also let us see the consequences of that speed. It wouldn't be until several years later that putting realistic physics into a game became a popular thing to do, but once it did, it broke things wide open...

My holidays back in Canada over Christmas and the New Year were pretty awesome, but a theme quickly began among many of my mobile-toting family members. As soon as they were reminded that I write about iOS games, they would quickly reach into their pockets or bags and pull out their device, presenting it to me like they would a wounded animal to a veterinarian. "You have to help me," they would plead. Taking a sigh and preparing to do my usual holiday tech support, I'd ask them what the problem was. "It's this level in Candy Crush Saga/Pet Rescue Saga/Farm Heroes Saga/etc.," they said with a desperate look in their eye. I had to do this several times, helping them get through the various snags that had trapped them for, in some cases, literal months. I've decided to do something about it this year so that it won't happen again next time. I'm going to make guides for the whole King shebang. Yes, this will take a long time. I see it as a little work today for the sake of long-term time-saving. I hope you can see where I'm coming from here...

If you think about it, WayForward Technologies is one of the original indie stars of handheld gaming. They first gained notice when some poor soul who was assigned to reviewing licensed claptrap on the Game Boy was playing some games based on Sabrina: The Animated Series and realized they were decidedly less bad than usual. A couple of years after that, they released their first game based on an original property, Shantae, which ended up being one of those games that sold far fewer copies on release than its eventual demand would call for. The game's charming presentation and ambition to actually make a decent Game Boy Color game won it plenty of fans. Combined with its relative rarity, its high quality gave it a near-legendary status and elevated its developer in the eyes of core handheld gamers...

DeNA continues their strange new pattern of releasing iOS versions of PC indie games under new names with Yet It Moves [$0.99], probably the most famous of the batch so far. Originally titled And Yet It Moves, it was first released on PC back in 2009 before making its way to WiiWare, of all places, in 2010. It received a fair bit of praise back then for its clever take on platforming and unique presentation. Here in 2015, it's not quite as unusual as it once was, but its strong level designs and good pacing make it a game still well-worth checking out...

'Fahrenheit: Indigo Prophecy Remastered' Review - My Kind of Nightmare

Celebrating its tenth anniversary, Quantic Dream’s Indigo Prophecy was recently rereleased on PC. Luckily, the developers also saw fit to port it over to iOS under the full title Fahrenheit: Indigo Prophecy Remastered [$9.99] as part of its decennial celebration. As a narrative-heavy action-adventure, Indigo Prophecy was excellent for its time and mostly makes a successful transition to Apple’s portable devices...

When Apple added widget functionality in iOS 8, it greatly expanded the kinds of cool things you could do with the lock screen on your iOS device. Most widgets have offered some sort of utility benefit, but there's a small number of developers who have brought gaming to the lock screen through widgets. First we had Overglide, which allowed you to play a simple cave flying game on your lock screen. Then there was the inevitable arrival of a 2048 widget. Widget functionality was even added to one of our favorite "non-game" games, Godville. Now, Overglide developer AA Mather is back with another widget game, and this time they're bringing a PC classic to the lockscreen with Minesweeper - Widget Edition [$0.99]. ..

If you were a Monument Valley [$3.99] fan who fell in love with Ida and especially the Totem (though a couple million of you drowned your poor Totem friend), then I have good news: Super Glyph Quest [$1.99] is getting an update this Thursday that adds the Monument Valley stars to the puzzle game. They're appearing as cameo characters in the match-3 puzzler, appearing in some of the quests that show up in the game. The characters show up in this new trailer, and you can catch a a glimpse of them in the Glyph Quest art style:..

Sometimes it's easy to forget just how young the App Store is, but then you think back to a game like Pixel Defenders Puzzle [$0.99] that released in 2012, and it feels like a million years ago. Pixel Defenders Puzzle is a cool game that combines the match-3 and defense genres. We enjoyed it quite a bit in our review, and the members of our TouchArcade forums loved it. The game saw several updates in the intervening years, including one that stripped out all of the IAP in the game, rebalancing it as a fully-premium game...

'Hero Emblems' Review - A Heroic Match-3 Adventure

As we mentioned in our Game of the Week post, there’s a certain amount of oversaturation that has hit the Match-3 genre on the App Store. Thus, the launch of Hero Emblems [$2.99] was met with some skepticism that it would be yet another Match-3 with nothing to differentiate itself. Thankfully that’s not the case with this gorgeous puzzler. Impressive strategic implications, beautiful visuals, and great RPG mechanics make this title worth checking out...

Some developers take a long time between game releases, making each one an often-painful wait between titles. If you're a Nitrome fan, you have no idea what I'm talking about. The pixel art aficionados and creators of Icebreaker [$0.99 / $2.99] have been on an utter tear on mobile in the last few months, with five games since August 2014, and three since December 2014, with the third being Gunbrick [$0.99]. Where Roller Polar [Free] and Platform Panic [Free] were both meant to be smaller arcade-style games, Gunbrick is a more fleshed-out, level-based puzzle-platformer. It's a game that's here and gone, though, being all too brief...

Mobile gaming certainly isn't hurting for clever puzzle games. Perhaps due to their natural fit with touch controls, puzzle games were one of the earliest genres to flourish on iOS. If you ask the average person to name off the mobile games they know of, chances are many of the entries will be from the puzzle genre. Candy Crush Saga [Free], Angry Birds [$0.99], Cut The Rope [$2.99], and similar fare are to many people the face of mobile gaming. Puzzle platformers, on the other hand, seem to have a rougher go of it. The puzzle part is usually fine, of course, but touchscreen platforming is a hard thing to nail down properly. Volt [$0.99 / $0.99 (HD)] tackles the problem by having you play as a little battery, who can't do much more than flop around on its own. Instead, it can generate beams of electricity to grapple onto various surfaces. It's like Cut The Rope meets Bionic Commando...

Framed [$4.99] feels like the first half of what should be a really good game. It's a title with a great premise: rearranging comic book panels both in order and rotation so that the protagonist in the scene makes it to the end without getting detected by cops or falling to their doom. The cops in the world of Framed were not the academy's best and brightest students, as they don't even turn around for the protagonist running through doors right behind them. "See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil" is the motto of the Framed Police Department, but good for the characters in this game, all trying to get control of a mysterious briefcase...

I will forever admit to being a sucker for games with pixel art, and Sunburn [$0.99] had immediate appeal to me based on that, but also thanks to its unique premise: instead of trying to save everyone, the goal is to control the jetpack-equipped astronaut captain, trying to get a bunch of stranded astronauts together, and launch into the sun so that nobody dies alone. But there's limited oxygen, so there's some planet-hopping involved, fiery asteroids to avoid, and a chain of astronauts to string along, trying to make sure they don't suffer a solitary demise while trying to get to the collective goal. This means that death is an odd thing, because dying itself might not be the ultimate goal. It's about making sure everyone suffers a quick death, rather than dying alone in the middle of space. That's a new one! It's a clever and macabre concept for a space physics puzzler, and while the game has issues, the concept alone is well worth checking out...

Love it or hate it, Candy Crush Soda Saga [Free] has made a fairly predictable march up to the top of the charts since its release not too long ago. That means tons of people are playing it, and knowing King's games as I do, that means tons of people are getting stuck and wanting to toss their mobile device every time they hear that smarmy voice-over guy say, "Oooh". Well, as usual, I've spent a good bit of time playing the game since its soft launch in the sandy deserts of Canada, and I've got some advice to help you turn those "ooohs" into "ahhhs". Well, there isn't actually an "ahhh", but you know what I mean...

Brace yourselves, we're going to talk about some truly old-school gaming in this review. Before there was Clash Of Clans [Free], Call Of Duty, Tetris [$0.99], Super Mario Bros., or even Pong, a huge gaming craze swept the world. It was a puzzle game known to the western world as Tangrams, brought over in the early 19th century from China, where it had been around for several hundred years. Suddenly those months-long New Zealand soft launches don't look so bad, do they? If you aren't familiar with Tangrams, the puzzle involves using seven pieces to try to match a set shape. You would think this to be a pretty shallow affair, but there have been several thousand different puzzles made. I'm not sure if it's still the case, but books of Tangram puzzles were always a mainstay in gas stations and convenience stores when I was a kid...

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