Category Archives: Puzzle

'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...

Raresloth's King Rabbit [Free] is a lovely game and has been expanding ever since its release. In March, we got the Emerald expansion, which added 64 levels to the game, and now the developers are working on Ruby, another 64-level expansion. However, this one is going to be created by the players rather than the developers. Raresloth is running a design competition—since the game now features a level designer—and will pick the best 64 levels created by players to be featured in the Ruby expansion. All you have to do is create a level, publish it, and share your level on Raresloth's Twitter account. The competition will run until May 15th, and the update will hit the App Store June 1st...

If you've been missing some crosswords in your life, Zynga has come to the rescue with Crosswords with Friends [Free], its newest casual game that should keep plenty of people busy. Crosswords with Friends is a collaboration with People Magazine that aims to bring the magazine's popular crosswords over to iOS and Android. The crosswords are focused on pop culture, so expect questions about the worlds' most beautiful people, red carpet events, and other similar categories. In other words, the game is clearly targeting younger players, who are more immersed into pop culture than most...

Footy Golf [Free] has been a big hit in our community since its release a few weeks ago, and like similar titles from Donut Games, people have been going hard at finding the absolute most efficient ways to finish levels and earn the highest scores. Much like its cousin Cat Physics [$1.99], just finishing the levels as intended isn't so difficult in Footy Golf, but coming up with the ultimate solution to a level is a game all on its own, and soon fans are going to have 20 brand new levels to pick apart piece by piece. The new levels are snow-themed and Donut has shared a brief preview of one of them on their Twitter page...

While some people may fight against convention by deleting Facebook or refusing to shop at big chain stores, my biggest stand against societal norms was by actually quite enjoying studying and solving math problems at school. As a result, I tend to gravitate towards puzzle titles and anything with a semblance of number crunching, such as Sudoku or Picross, if I need to kill some time, and the upcoming Mr. Mustachio 2 looks like it could be the next game to fill this particular niche on my iPhone. While sharing the same rough concept as the previous game in the series that was released in October 2016, Mr. Mustachio 2 adds not only more number questions, but puzzles involving images, shapes and words, resulting in an intriguing take on the Brain Training-esque format that should provide a fun and educational time waster when it launches on the App Store in the next few weeks...

Magic: Puzzle Quest [Free] continues to improve, and the latest 2.0 update has brought some very welcome changes. The first new feature is Event Decks, which will result in battles taking place with decks made for specific events rather than a random opponent's deck. The other new feature is Deck Slots, which apparently has been a feature players have been requesting for quite some time. Having multiple deck slots per Planeswalker will make it easier to jump into events without having to tinker with decks every time you do so. You can now buy 2 extra deck slots per Planeswalker...

While mobile ports of hit PC and console games are pretty common nowadays, back in 2010 it was a pretty big deal that Hemisphere Games' critically acclaimed puzzler Osmos [$2.99 / $4.99 (HD)] was heading to iOS. It was also one of the first times I felt that the touchscreen version of a game actually made for a better experience than its desktop counterpart. In Osmos you play an orb floating around sucking up smaller orbs, which then makes you grow larger and thus able to gobble up ever larger orbs. The twist is that as you propel yourself around the screen, you lose some of your size, so the entire game is a delicate balance of going where you need to go while still maintaining enough size to gobble up the orbs you need to in order to complete a level. It's a really brilliant game, both relaxing and challenging at the same time. ..

'Star Cat Adventure' Review - Galactic Psychedelic Kitten

Sometimes it's nice to just relax and play a game with a weird creature at the helm. Maybe Bubsy isn't the best example, but cats are relaxing and stress-reducing creatures by nature, so I naturally gravitate towards projects that feature felines. That's why I opted to take a chance on Star Cat Adventure [Free]. Well, that, and the fact that its titular character looks like a rad '90s mascot...

Thinking back to the games that made a big impact in the very early years of the App Store and puzzle platformer Archibald's Adventures [$1.99] is right up near the top of the list. Developer Rake in Grass released the game way back in January of 2009, and updated it several times since then with new content and features. Its last update was in November of 2010, coming up on 7 years ago. With the 32-bit Appocalypse coming up, we've seen plenty of older games get brought back to life in an effort to bring them up to modern standards and keep them alive in the App Store. Given the lack of activity by Rake in Grass for the past several years, I was taken completely by surprise to see that Archibald's Adventures has received a new update today bringing with it all the modern conveniences like widescreen support, high resolution graphics, support for all the different screen sizes, and 60fps support. ..

Just over a month ago, Jam City announced that they had once again partnered up with FoxNext Games to bring another Family Guy game to mobile following 2014's immensely popular Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff [Free]. After a brief soft launch period that game, appropriately titled Family Guy - Another Freakin' Mobile Game [Free], is now available worldwide. Rather than city building, this time you'll be making matches as Peter serves Quahog's residents mix drinks from his mobile booze truck. ..

Copyright 2014, TouchArcade.com, LLC.