Category Archives: Puzzle

Square Enix's excellent Hitman-themed puzzle strategy game Hitman GO [$4.99] has just been updated with a new classic level pack and iCloud integration, and it's on sale again for just $1.99. The new chapter of levels is called "St. Petersburg Stakeout" and is based off of the same level from the 2002 console game Hitman 2: Silent Assassin. The new pack contains 8 levels, and if you remember that St. Petersburg Stakeout level from Hitman 2, you'll definitely recognize it here too...

I found myself kind of curious about Wavefront [$2.99] when I saw that it was published by DeNA – and it wasn't a free-to-play game. It started out as Waveform on PC, and now has been brought to iOS under the new name, for unknown reasons. Curious. But it still doesn't answer why this was published by DeNA, as this game is paid without IAP at all, which is even odder given that it's, well, DeNA. Did I wake up in bizarro universe? Perhaps not, but Wavefront is an interesting enough puzzler worth checking out...

Do you love Sony's Fat Princess, the downloadable title on PlayStation 3? If so, you are not the target of Sony's latest mobile release, Fat Princess: Piece of Cake [Free]. Rather, this game, like many of Sony's mobile efforts thus far, seems to be more of a promotional tool to pull in people unfamiliar with the franchise. Not only does the gameplay have very little in common with the unique gameplay of the main title, but one of the interesting hooks of this app is the ability to win a code for a free copy of the original Fat Princess for PS3. It's sort of fascinating watching Sony figuring out how they want to incorporate mobile into their overall gaming strategy. I can't say it's yielding the fruits some would hope for, but I at least applaud them for giving it a try, and at the very least, you can't say that they aren't paying attention to what sells in the mobile market...

In January of this year, Tapstar Interactive and First Star Software announced a brand new game in the classic Boulder Dash series to mark the 30th anniversary of the original game's release. Originally planned for an "early 2014" release, the new game took a bit longer than anticipated, but as of today Boulder Dash 30th Anniversary [Free] is finally available in the App Store. The original game's creators Peter Liepa & Chris Gray have come together for the first time since 1984 to design levels for this new game, and there are also a few major changes over the original like ramps and diagonal movement. Check out the trailer to see it in action...

'Spirits of Spring' Review - A Powerful, Cathartic Experience

Let me begin this review by lighting the "Experience Game" signal, just so that we're starting off with clarity. I've talked before about the distinction between games focused on mechanics and what I usually refer to as experience games, particularly in my review of Monument Valley [$3.99]. As you would probably expect from Minority Media, the developers behind PlayStation 3 game Papo & Yo, their new game fits firmly into the latter category. In Spirits Of Spring [$1.99], the mechanics exist only to serve the experience, so if you're mostly into mastering play mechanics, I guess this review was a short read for you. There are no fail states in this game, it's relatively brief in run-time, and you're never asked to do anything terribly difficult with the few abilities you have at your disposal. Those who enjoy games that focus on delivering an experience, on the other hand, will find something more than worth your time and money. It's a bittersweet exploration of bullying, from both sides of the fence, and though its hand is perhaps a little too heavy at times, I still found it to be a very precious journey...

Adult Swim has a done a great job with its iOS titles and now, with the help of developer PikPok, they are taking on the Match-3 genre. Adventure Xpress [Free] continues the excellent off-beat motif of most Adult Swim titles with you taking the role of a mail courier in a fantasy setting. Meanwhile the Match-3 gameplay is a bit simplified, but has everything needed to offer an enjoyable experience (even with the freemium elements)...

I've said it before, and I've got absolutely no problem saying it again and again: The Room [Free / $0.99 (HD)] and The Room Two [$0.99] are among the finest games available on the App Store. The first installment is free on the iPhone (with a 99 cent purchase to unlock the rest of the game) and The Room proper for iPad has also been a buck for quite some time now. The Room Two has been on sale before, most recently this summer, but I'm not one to pass up on an opportunity to remind everyone to download these games again...

Subway Planning is Surprisingly Fun in 'Mini Metro,' Coming to iOS Later This Year

When I was in the eighth grade, a city planner came to my pre-algebra class to talk about the mathematics involved in managing traffic lights. He gave a series of problems and asked us to find ways to shuffle the maximum number of cars through a given intersection quickly and safely. Even the most basic questions were surprisingly complex and way beyond my group of hormone-addled pre-teens...

'Valiant Hearts: The Great War' Review - In the Trenches

One of my favorite poems in the English language canon has, ironically, a Latin title: "Dulce et Decorum est." In it, English poet and soldier Wilfred Owen tells his audience that, had they seen the chlorine-tinged carnage of trench warfare first hand, they..

Sometimes games have the hallmarks of greatness, but fail to stick the landing, and that's how I perceive Joinz [$1.99] to be. It mixes Tetris with Threes [$1.99], having players form tetrominos and other block shapes by sliding different-colored blocks around the board, with same color blocks sticking to each other. As more matches are made, powerup blocks come into play, and more colors get involved, making the game steadily more challenging. But it's the way that the game starts and then increases its difficulty, along with a qualm with randomness and the logic of blocks sticking together that keep it from really reaching its potential...

You may remember Sunburn!, the sickly-sweet puzzle game about launching a crew of stranded astronauts with a suicide pact into a nearby star. I first wrote about the game last month, but the premise still makes me a little queasy if I think about it too long...

Before I write anything else, I want to commend the developer of Lith [Free] on their courage. Making an entire game around a gameplay concept that is likely most famously remembered as "the puzzley bits that everyone hates in middling JRPGs" takes some guts. Lith is a puzzle game made up entirely of those puzzles where you have to slide across icy surfaces to reach an exit. Once you've stepped onto the ice, you can't stop or change direction until you reach a tile with some sort of traction or bump into a wall...

Duke Dashington [$0.99] released a couple of weeks ago, and I enjoyed the game, but thought that there were some additions that could be made to the game to improve its longevity, without necessarily adding new content. The developer, Adventure Island, has promised that they were coming in an update, and they have delivered: Duke Dashington 1.1 is out right now, bringing a new time trial mode and Game Center to the game...

Yes, I went for the low-hanging fruit with the review title. Let's just try to move past that and get to the game I want to tell you about today, Kapsula [$1.99]. This is a pretty unusual game. If it wasn't so utterly out there with its theme, I'd almost think it was the product of some bizarre marketing meeting. This is basically a lane-based endless runner mixed with a match-3 puzzle game, and I'll let you try to hash out how that might work for a second before I spoil it all for you...

Occasionally, a video game has a brilliant new idea that it builds itself around. Sometimes it gets it right the first time, sometimes it's left to another game to capitalize on it. Most games, however, have to be content with coming at an existing idea, hoping to provide a new angle, presentation, or mix of other ideas to set itself apart. Such is the case with Partyrs [$1.99], a charming puzzle game with a premise that should ring pretty familiar to avid mobile puzzle game fans. It's a game about arranging guests in a room according to their desires in order to ensure maximum party satisfaction. In practice, it's very similar to the popular games Girls Like Robots [$2.99] and Joining Hands [$2.99], a puzzle type that stretches at least as far back as those old logic puzzles about ferrying sheep and wolves across the river with one boat...

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