Category Archives: Puzzle

Scrolling through the App Store screenshots, I can see how one might be led to believe the latest Angry Birds game is just another free-to-play match 3 battler. It appears to have all the trimmings and trappings of the popular (if a bit tired) genre: a grid of colorful tiles, characters to collect, loot to be gained, and--of course--multiple timers and currencies, all dressed up in that familiar Angry Birds style. I see how it looks. But you're wrong. Angry Birds Fight! [Free] is actually a bold exploration of the concept of free will in a deterministic universe...

When you think of love, what do you think of? Is it bits of data in a computer system? I didn’t think so. Some of you probably thought of France, or at least Paris. And that, my friends, is why Bit Bit Love [$0.99], a logic puzzler about two bits of data who fall in love and try to find each other while avoiding deletion, obviously came from French studios Blue Pill Games and 82 Storks. Everything suddenly made sense when I learned that...




King's got their formula down pat by now. First, take a puzzle concept that has shown some success in the past, be it Bejeweled, Peggle [$0.99], Puzzle Bobble, or anything else. If it's not already stage-based, change it so that it is. Then dial up the difficulty gradually, spiking it now and then to tempt players towards buying power-ups. Introduce new levels regularly, new gimmicks almost as often, do the whole thing up in a sharp package, and wait for the money to come in. No one can deny the success they've had at it, to be sure. But apart from Candy Crush Saga [Free]'s follow-up Candy Crush Soda Saga [Free], King's had trouble making their games stick of late. Their major successes, the two Candy Crush games, Farm Heroes Saga [Free], and Pet Rescue Saga [Free], continue to hang on the higher positions of the top grossing charts, but other efforts like Diamond Digger Saga [Free] and Paper Pear Saga [Free] have gone nowhere. My gut tells me there's a pattern here, and that same instinct tells me that King's latest, AlphaBetty Saga [Free], might suffer the same fate...

'You Must Build A Boat' Review - You Must Buy This Game

To tell you the truth, friends, I'm actually pretty busy working on something today. That said, I was asked to come and write something for all of you about the new follow-up to Luca Redwood's 10000000 [$2.99]. It's called You Must Build A Boat [$2.99], and it's every bit as compelling as the first game. Did you like the first game? Do you enjoy puzzle games? Do you like games? You're going to want this one, trust me...

'Dead Eyes' Review - 28 Apps Later

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June 3rd, 2015 2:30 PM EDT by Chris Carter in $2.99, 3.5 stars, Games, iPad Games, iPhone games, Puzzle, Reviews, Universal
$2.99 Buy Now

How many zombie games can you take in a lifetime? A thousand? A million? Some people can't even take just a few. These days, you don't really have a choice. Thankfully, Dead Eyes [$2.99] is a decent game by any standard, whether you're fed up with the shambling dead or can't get enough of their lifelessness...

Hey friends, I'm back again with another installment in my level-by-level guide for Candy Crush Soda Saga [Free]. As usual, I want to get a disclaimer out of the way: these aren't bulletproof strategies for winning every time. Sometimes, Candy Crush Soda Saga won't give you the pieces you need to beat the stage. It happens. What these tips are for is to help you seize the opportunity when the game does give you the right pieces. Persistence and patience are your best friends in this game. With that said, let's get on with some advice for levels 41 through 60, where things really start to get tough...

Sometimes, the most simple experience is the best experience. That goes double for the mobile platform, where often times your only method of control is a basic tap motion. Orbits [Free] follows that principle to a tee, and although it can be a tad too simplistic in its presentation, it's definitely worth looking into...

Wow. Talk about an iOS dynasty. It's been five long years since Miniclip.com published the port of the original Fragger [$0.99] to the App Store. All this time later, Harold Brenes, the original creator of Fragger is back with a long, long awaited sequel, Fragger 2 [$1.99]. I mean, 5 years? That's ancient history in mobile gaming. Not quite 'cradle of life,' 'dawn of man' ancient, but still pretty darn old. Ancient Greece, maybe. Anyway, was the wait worth it? Did anyone really want this sequel?..

'Seek: Find Your Friends' Offers Players a Lovely Window into a Vibrant, Mysterious World

Constantine Cavafy, one of my favorite early-20th Century Greek poets, once wrote that when you set out for a destination, you should hope that your journey is a long one. Why? Because once you arrive, you'll realize that the destination's only value was that it spurred you to undertake your journey. I've often found that unlike Cavafy, most game designers often privilege the destination over the journey by positing  level- or game-ending bosses as the moment when the hours a player has spent with the game acquire meaning. More often than not, the journey to the game's end credits is a blur with all elements of game design pushing with single-minded purpose towards that enemy waiting for you at the end. Yet, there are often exceptions to every rule, and Five Pixels' Seek: Find your Friends [Free] is precisely such an exception. Seek provides a literal window into a lovely, mysterious island and allows the players to blissfully meander inside the game world without inorexably pushing them towards a singular, rigid goal (despite the fact that the game does have an ending). This is definitely an island worth exploring if you, like me, enjoy savoring the journey and not just the destination...

'Test Chamber' Review - The Best Little Puzzle Game You Haven't Heard Of

Test Chamber [Free] is a gift for any game reviewer. The minimalist indie puzzler sneaked on to the App Store a couple of weeks ago with very little fanfare, and went largely unnoticed. But those who did play it discovered a wonderful logic game, with a unique physics twist and some excruciatingly tough but very satisfying puzzles. And now, dear reader, I get to share it with you, and you can discover its delights for yourself...

'Wedding Escape' Review - 'Til Match-Three Do We Part

I think that when the world ends and cockroaches roam the Earth in search of Twinkies, there will still be working match-three devices out there. People just can't get enough of the match-three puzzle subgenre (myself included), and even after playing hundreds of them, Wedding Escape [Free] still feels fairly fresh...

I could talk to you about Ustwo's Monument Valley[$3.99], which has just dropped to its lowest price ever, in so many ways. I could wax poetically about its illusory essence or its mysterious blank-faced protagonist. Or maybe just mention the game's abundance of awards, among them Apple's 2014 iPad Game of the Year, 2015 BAFTA for Best Mobile & Handheld, Apple's 2014 Design Award, or 2015 GDC Innovation Award. Or, of more interest to those who enjoy their TV shows, I could talk about how the fictional President Frank Underwood - of House of Cards fame - goes from blasting people on Call of Duty in the first season to pondering his next machination over a solemn game of Monument Valley. I could even talk about how its brevity actually enhances its originality. Or maybe just add a trailer for those who prefer the visual over the textual...

Well, that didn't take long: last week Capcom and Beeline Interactive were conducting polls and looking for beta testers for a licensed Ghostbusters iOS game. Today, Beeline officially announced Ghostbusters Puzzle Fighter, which sadly doesn't have anything to do with Capcom's amazing Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo and everything to do with a free-to-play match-3 roleplayer...

'The Room 3' Will Stay Locked Away 'Til Summer, Says Fireproof Games

Bittsersweet news from Fireproof Games this week: the Guildford, England-based firm announced that The Room 3 is being delayed. Originally scheduled for a spring release, the upcoming entry into the incredibly popular hidden object series has been kicked back to summer...

To celebrate the release of Stealth Inc. 2 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Windows (via the Humble Bundle store), Curve Digital has slashed the price of it's iOS predecessor. For this weekend only, you can snatch Stealth Inc. [$4.99] for free on the App Store...

Yesterday was, for most Americans, the deadline to file taxes for 2014, and never has Jesus' admonition that "It it most blessed to give than to receive" (Acts 20:35) rung so hollow. Not so for Joost van Dongen: today is the Dutch designer's birthday, and he's slashed the price of his tube-runner, Proun+ [$3.99] to celebrate. ..

'Shades' Review: A Strikingly Simple, Tetris like Puzzle Game

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April 15th, 2015 2:30 PM EDT by Ben Jarris in 3.5 stars, Free, Puzzle, Reviews
Free Buy Now

Shades [$1.99];the notably unique Tetris like puzzle game came out late last year and flew under the radar. Since it’s launch the game has grown a huge following, been featured by Apple as their ‘Free Game of the Week’, and even been recreated within Minecraft by seriously dedicated fans. A recent major update of the game and the release of Shades Free [Free]; made me take notice and have a closer look. If you love sleek design and you’re good with color like me then you should definitely take on this challenge and give Shades a try. ..

Last Voyage [$1.99] joins the craze of abstract puzzle games that Monument Valley [$3.99] helped spark thanks to its massive success. And this game makes for a spectacular universe and artistic experience. Yet, Last Voyage winds up being less than the sum of its parts, as it tries to connect five different experiences as one package. Each part has value, but it doesn't do a great job at making the package into a cohesive whole. Its myriad forms of gameplay are fascinating, as its existence as a beautiful thing. But the story, narrative, and message parts of its existence fell flat for me...

'Gunpowder' for iPad Review - Explosive Rube Goldberg Play Sets

After first seeing the trailer for developer Rogue Rocket Games’ Gunpowder [$2.99] last week, I was instantly taken by the game’s Saturday morning cartoon aesthetic, and more specifically, that of the old Wile E. Coyote episodes of "Looney Tunes". It’s a style rarely seen in today’s cartoons, much less in any video game, so it was a refreshing hook that baited me to pay attention to the game. Fortunately, Gunpowder is more than just a pretty face, and brings with it physics-based puzzle gameplay that balances on the fine line of accessible yet satisfying...

Ryleh Industry’s Chromaticon [Free] is a challenging experience that relies heavily on tilt mechanics and color coordination. In fact, it’s probably one of the more difficult games that I’ve played in a while and borders on being too hard for some players. However, it succeeds in making accomplishment a very cool experience and, when combined with great visuals and cool music, make it a game worth checking out...

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