Category Archives: Puzzle

As if last night's huge list of new iOS releases wasn't enough, there's a late-comer to the party that's been generating quite a buzz in our forums since it showed up in New Zealand earlier today. It's Block Legend [$1.99] from Dot Warrior Games, and to quote a member of our forums, "…imagine crossing that 10000000 game with Slayin. Only turn it up to 11." Ok, maybe that's not totally accurate, but it sort of is...

You don't see a lot of big name "edutainment" titles on the market today. Whereas my childhood was dominated with Reader Rabbit, Number Munchers, Math Blaster and Oregon Trail, it's rare to really see an educational game release with any fanfare these days. That's why Calculords [Free] is so special, because the game is almost entirely based around multiplication, subtraction, and addition. Oh, and blasting aliens into the next galaxy, of course...

'Eliss Infinity' Review - Splitting Planets Like Atoms

Many of you may not remember the iOS marketplace in 2009, but when it was released, Eliss was a dominant authority in the puzzle arena. Now it's back five years later in the form of Eliss Infinity [$2.99], and the good news is, it's better than ever. Somehow, Infinity manages to balance both puzzle and action elements to near perfection...

'Disco Zoo' Review - The Funkiest Zoo Of All

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February 28th, 2014 11:05 AM EDT by Eli Hodapp in 4 stars, Free, Games, Puzzle, Reviews
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NimbleBit has garnered somewhat of a legendary reputation around here for being one of the few outfits that consistently releases free to play games without the predatory IAP mechanics that surround typical free to play games. If you haven't played one, in NimbleBit games, IAP truly feels optional. Thankfully, it seems that this vibe persists through their new publishing effort, as Disco Zoo [Free] (Which was actually developed by Milkbag Games) perfectly fits on the App Store shelves next to Tiny Tower [Free], Nimble Quest [Free] and their other titles...

Fancy yourself as a bit of a detective? Want to solve the most ludicrous cases in a world where candy is strictly forbidden? Publisher Chillingo’s latest game takes the simple aspects and ideas of a puzzle game and give it a whole new meaning to the word “depth.” Taking hold of the reigns and steering players in a completely new direction, Another Case Solved [Free] is a humorous light-hearted take on the whodunit genre, with a distinctively interesting variety of puzzles all incorporated and combined into one fine game...

It's been a long wait, but Tengami [$4.99], the adventure game inspired by pop-up storybooks, has finally been completed. The developer, Nyamyam, is a new name, but you're almost certainly familiar with past projects they've worked on, including Diddy Kong Racing, StarFox Adventures, Way of the Samurai 3, and Kinect Sports. Tengami got a lot of attention almost immediately, thanks to its eye-catching, beautiful graphical style. The final product delivers on that visual promise and then some. It was less certain was how the gameplay would turn out. Happily, I can say that while the gameplay is considerably more pedestrian than the presentation, it's solid enough that fans of adventure and puzzle games will definitely want to give the game a go...

The recent trend in adventure games has been to take on more of an episodic model, which is great when they finally come to fruition, but often results in an introductory chapter that lacks satisfaction. Detective Grimoire [$3.99], from publisher Armor Games and developer SFB Games, fortunately bucks this trend, offering a solid, self-contained story that also has sequel hooks firmly planted. Although it offers just a single case that can be solved in just a few hours without a lot of effort, the level of polish on both the art and the story help elevate the experience. I also appreciate its more abstract and light-hearted take on things. It helps the game stand out a bit in the current landscape of more serious and realistic entries into the adventure genre...

Stubies [$0.99] is a deceptive little game. When you first start playing, it's simple. A bit too simple, in fact. In this game, little creatures of different colors will come walking in a straight direction from some point off of the map, and you have to point them in the right direction to find another creature of the same color, at which point they'll be cleared off the board and you'll score some points. Each level has a set amount of points as the goal, and once you reach it, your score and time are tallied and it's off to the next stage. The only way you can lose is if too many of the little Stubies wander off an edge. Each one that drops costs you a star, and if you lose all three of your stars, you fail the stage. Another thing you want to avoid is having two Stubies of different colors pushing against each other. After a short time, they'll turn into solid white objects that will deflect anything that tries to walk into them. It doesn't directly cost you stars, but it can complicate things...

'Rocket Robo' Review - An Adorable Intergalactic Adventure

It's not often that a title will offer up an endearing setup that's just as impressive as the gameplay, but that's just what Rocket Robo [$0.99] does. As a tiny little robot in space whose sole purpose is to keep "the Tinker" company, it's your job to recover all of the stars in the galaxy, and bring joy back to your maker. Thankfully, it plays as well, too...

Some games just embrace their inner silliness, and they're better for it. In an era of an increased saturation of serious zombie games, I enjoy it when some developers embrace the theme but add their own sense of charm to it. Grandpa and the Zombies [$0.99] is one such game...

'Spell Quest: Grimm's Journey' Review - Q-U-E-S-T, Done!

One of the more surprising things that the rise of social and casual games has revealed is just how much everyone loves spelling. Where were all of these people when I was looking for Scrabble players? Or was it the fact that I insist on playing the game in the buff to maximize the flow of my chakra? Oh well. Wherever they were at that time, they came out later in full force, and now there are mountains of word games. At first there were mostly knock-offs of Scrabble or Boggle, but as in any competitive genre, everyone started looking for their own spin, leading to some incredibly imaginative variations. Spell Quest: Grimm's Journey [Free] isn't treading on completely new ground, certainly owing a debt to the classic Bookworm Adventures, but thanks to a few good twists and an extremely polished presentation, it more than carves a place for itself...

One of 2012's absolute best iOS releases, Luca Redwood's 10000000 [$2.99] has just been given a much needed update adding widescreen support (yay!), Game Center achievements and new Ace Levels. If you missed it previously, 10000000 is a matching game with built-in combat and RPG mechanics, not totally unlike Puzzle Quest or Dungeon Raid. The hook here is that you're constantly under a time constraint, so you need to be making the right kind of matches for whatever your current obstacle is (fighting an enemy, unlocking a door, etc.) with the clock ticking down in your face. It puts a certain sense of panic into the gameplay, but not in a bad way. In fact, it's exhilarating when you know time is just about to run out and you happen to make the most perfect match ever, propelling you forward and continuing your run when you were sure you were toast...

'Threes!' Review - Checking the Boxes of a Perfect Mobile Game

I feel like as a developer you can go broke attending conferences, buying books, and listening to seminars on how to make the "perfect" game, when, in my eyes, it has always come down to simplicity. The best, most universally loved games on the App Store with rare exception check these three boxes:..

The tactic of flipping the gravity on the player, whether by giving the player the power to do so voluntarily or forcing it on them as a stage hazard, has been around for a pretty long time in video games. I'm not sure if it was the first, but as near as I can tell, Irem's Metal Storm for the NES was one of the earliest games to use this mechanic, allowing you to reverse gravity at your will. After that, it was seen here and there, but it seems to have really made a comeback thanks to VVVVVV. Fans of mobile games are no stranger to it, of course, thanks to games such as Gravity Guy [$0.99] and Gravity Duck [$0.99]. TripTrap [$0.99 / Free], an interesting little stage-based action game, uses a variation on this tried and tested technique as its primary mechanic...

One of the most unexpectedly wonderful genre mash-ups has proven to be the puzzle-RPG. On the surface, they seem like peanut butter and cheese, with puzzle games of the past emphasizing a play experience where a full game can be completed in one session, and RPGs pretty much being the reason the ability to save your game progress was invented. These genres existed beside each other for decades before the idea of smashing them together became popular thanks to Puzzle Quest. After that, the floodgates opened, especially on iOS, to the point where many of the most popular titles around are of this particular hybrid. The good ones find a way to bring a twist to the table, and such is the case with Glyph Quest [Free]...

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