Category Archives: Puzzle

'CombineRobot' Review - Mecha Match Three

January 29th, 2016 2:00 PM EDT by Chris Carter in $0.99, 4 stars, Games, iPad Games, iPhone games, Puzzle, Reviews, Universal
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Match-three is one of those genres that will be around forever. Years after we're immersing ourselves in full consumer-grade VR, Match-three will still be rampant on portable devices and wearable tech. It's inevitable. But while many of them stick to the same formula, CombineRobot [$0.99] aims to do something different -- both thematically and mechanically -- and I admire it for that...

The incredibly fun and well-designed Rust Bucket [Free] by Nitrome was just missing one thing in my estimation, as I said in my review: more fixed levels to play with once you beat the quasi-tutorial's 10 levels. And more were indeed teased through a locked menu on the screen, but they were not to be had quite yet. Thankfully, the teased level pack is finally here, and Rust Bucket has 10 additional levels to play through. These introduce new mechanics, but because you're also playing with things that you've already messed around with, you'll be mixing old knowledge with new. The new levels are pretty challenging, and it's worth jumping back into this update...

If you've played Rymdkapsel, you probably know that the developer managed to make a highly-engaging game with minimalist graphics, and Twofold Inc. [$3.99], the developer's new game that's just released on the App Store, looks to do the same. As we wrote about a few days ago, this is one of those games that's hard to describe without actually seeing it in action, and even a simple trailer can't really do it justice. The developer describes the game as a "humble puzzle game" where you scroll the playfield to unravel the tiles, then make a path to clear them away. The levels are never-ending, there are no time limits, and in general the game seems to be more of an introspective puzzle rather than a frantic one like most puzzle games on the App Store...

Ever wondered what it takes to make a game like Fireproof Games' The Room Three [$4.99]? Is it a lot of work drawing and designing every single item in spectacular detail, or does it involve late-night sacrifices at the altar of the Game Design Gods? Fortunately (?) for all those involved, it's the former as we can see in this huge collection of art and sketches that went on to become the intriguing and quite beautiful The Room Three. The Flickr Album has more than 30 photos and really highlights the crazy amount of work that went into the making of the game. There are, for instance, detailed sketches and early 3D drawings of some of the boxes and items and the reasoning behind the inclusion of the various objects and locations, like explaining the inspiration behind the Paper Theater that players find in the mezzanine theater of the Library...

'Dungelot: Shattered Lands' Review - Chewie, We’re Home

Most people that have seen the new Star Wars movie enjoyed it, but one complaint I’ve seen a lot is that it borrows heavily from the first film, A New Hope. I’ve read that it was intentional, and part of the reason was probably to remind people of how much they loved the original trilogy and help them forget the prequels. And as weird as it may seem, it sort of reminds me of what Red Winter has done with the latest Dungelot sequel, Dungelot: Shattered Lands [$3.99]...

'Swapperoo' Review - Rage Against The Matching

I remember hearing that people were so obsessed with Tetris in the 80’s that when they’d close their eyes they’d still see the pieces falling and fitting together in their mind. It’s called the Tetris Effect, and I’ve always thought it was weird that people considered it strange enough to warrant its own name. Pretty much anything I get super into will start to invade my thoughts and dreams when I close my eyes. Isn’t that pretty normal? Why is Tetris special? Certainly there are plenty of iOS games that give me the same “effect” when I play them long enough. Like Swapperoo [$2.99], for instance...

Swapperoo [$2.99] is the latest title from Fallen Tree Games, developers of the wonderful Quell series. It released a bit late and kind of missed the whole weekly release post thing, but that's no reason for it to fly under the radar, it's too stinking awesome! Somehow, Fallen Tree has managed to make a match-3 game that's actually interesting, unique, and highly strategic. I figured that train had sailed from the airport a long time ago, but I'm happy to have been proven wrong. ..

The App Store is such a massive place that it's pretty common for games to fly under the radar, even when they're the type of games that seem like they shouldn't have. Swedish developer Wadonk's Captain Cowboy [$1.99] is one of those games that I'd have figured our forum members would have been all over when it released back in December. It's a very old-school inspired puzzle adventure with a heavy Boulderdash influence, as you're exploring and digging your way through a huge world collecting diamonds but you'll have to be strategic about how you dig around so you don't end up in a situation where a boulder will crash down and squish you. There's also plenty of puzzle elements where you'll have to use the boulders to pass various traps and weapons. Overall it's a quirky little game with not a lot of hand-holding and plenty of little details to discover on your own, just like the old days. It even has faux scanlines. Like I said, this is the type of stuff our community is usually all over! Such is the nature of the App Store. ..

One of my favorite games of 2014 was Secret Crush's planet-hopping, gravity-based action puzzler Sunburn! [$2.99], and for the first time and likely a limited time you can nab this unique puzzler for free. Those who aren't familiar with Sunburn! may be wondering what the heck it's all about, and I'd be happy to tell you! The premise is one of the best things about this game. You're a space captain, and a comet has come along and destroyed your ship, leaving you and your crew stranded in space. There's no getting out of this one, no one coming to rescue you. You're all going to die. ..

'Cut the Rope: Magic' Review - I Smell Swipes and Candy

'Cut the Rope: Magic' Review - I Smell Swipes and Candy

January 4th, 2016 11:00 AM EDT by Nathan Reinauer in $0.99, 4.5 stars, Games, Puzzle, Reviews, Universal
99¢ Buy Now

Angry Birds [Free]. There are cartoons, toys, T-shirts, stuffed animals, and even a movie coming soon starring Bill Hader and Peter Dinklage. And you know what? That’s great! Good for Rovio. They made a fun game that connected with lots of people and licenced the crap out of it. For my money, though, I always thought Cut the Rope [$1.99] was a better fit for all that. Om Nom is just a better character, in my opinion. I mean, just look at the way his face drops when that giant round candy misses his mouth! Angry Birds, on the other hand, are… well, they’re angry. Cool. Of course, there is tons of Cut the Rope merch already out there (and apparently a somewhat smaller movie in the works), but it’s nowhere near as much as those darn Birds. It’s a shame, too, because I’ve always thought Cut the Rope was a slightly better game. And in my opinion, Cut the Rope: Magic [$0.99] is the best one yet...

It's often said that in game development, ideas are cheap. What that means is that everyone has ideas for games, but actually bringing an idea to the finish line and creating an honest-to-goodness final product requires a lot of hard work and dedication from people with particular skills. I think it's not so much meant to say that a good idea is worth nothing, just that it's easier to come up with a decent idea than it is to actually make it. Good ideas are still an important part of any great game, and every once in a while, someone has an idea so good that it can carry entire games or series. Such is the case with Scribblenauts, previously seen on iOS in the form of the best hits-style Scribblenauts Remix [$0.99]. The game has plenty of rough edges, but the idea behind it is 100% solid gold. More stunningly, developer 5th Cell was able to largely realize that golden idea, and were richly rewarded for their efforts...

'BLOCnog' Review - Slip Sliding Away

December 11th, 2015 12:00 PM EDT by Chris Carter in $1.99, 4 stars, Games, iPad Games, iPhone games, Puzzle, Reviews, Universal
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If I ever see a grid-based puzzle game, I jump at the opportunity to play it. Ever since I experienced Chip's Challenge so many years back I became addicted, and there's something so orderly at the concept of solving puzzles in a uniform format. BLOCnog [$0.99] is one such game, but it's conceal beneath a devlishly cute premise, and some very interesting concepts...

It's always nice when a game gets an update that you just did not expect. You would be forgiven for thinking Icycle: On Thin Ice [$2.99] was otherwise lost to history after its release in 2013, but no! The game has suddenly gotten a big 2.0 update that adds new content to complete the game, over 2 years since its original release. ..

'CineMagic' Review - Match Three: The Movie

December 10th, 2015 11:00 AM EDT by Nathan Reinauer in 4 stars, Free, Games, Puzzle, Reviews, Universal
Free Buy Now

In the small town where I grew up, my parents run a little single-screen movie theatre called the Sunset. We spent a few years living in an apartment above it when I was a kid, and my first job was taking tickets at the box office. I still love going there when I visit my parents, even though I don’t always stay to watch the shows (which only play on weekends, of course.) Movie theatres are familiar and comfortable to me, and spending most of my life around one instilled me with a deep love and appreciation of movies and filmmaking in general. The folks at Jamwix seem to feel exactly the same way, and it shows in their latest app, CineMagic [Free]...

Late last year, iOS gamers were treated to an excellent port of the cult classic Xbox title Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath [$0.99]. In my review of that game, I sounded off on the series on the whole, making no bones about my admiration for the tight design and excellent gameplay found in Stranger's Wrath, referring to it as without question the developer's best game. I also made no secret of my feelings about the previous games in the series, which I've always felt were lovingly-crafted but ultimately quite middling outside of their production values and strong art direction. I think there are valid reasons why they were like that, but the point remains that I don't think very highly of the gameplay they offer. I guess that's kind of a foreboding way to start this review, but stay with me...

They say that you should dress for the job you want, not the job you have. Which is exactly why whenever I write reviews, I wear my furry Chewbacca bath robe. You don't get quite as disparate, or quite as wide of a gap, as a lowly beggar literally wearing the face of god and getting godlike power in the process. That's quite the promotion! And it's also the premise of the lovely puzzle platformer and debut App Store game from Bad Seed, The Beggar's Ride [$3.99]...

'Blendoku 2' Review - Does It Blend?

December 2nd, 2015 12:14 PM EDT by Shaun Musgrave in 4 stars, Free, iPad Games, iPhone games, Puzzle, Reviews
Free Buy Now

I don't envy puzzle game designers. In our hobby, there are plenty of genres where you can more or less get away with looking at what the big dog is doing, slapping a slightly different look on it, and maybe tossing in a new hat or two if you're feeling particularly ambitious. You probably won't do extraordinarily well doing things that way, but it's certainly viable in some genres. Puzzle games are not one of those genres. Perhaps owing to the generally minimalist presentation most puzzle games use, people can spot gameplay imitations pretty quickly. Whether they'll care or not is another thing altogether, mind you. That's why I'm somewhat sympathetic to puzzle game developers who go back to the well a few times on an original concept. It's hard enough to come up with something new and fun, let alone trying to successfully reinvent the wheel thereafter. Just ask Alexey Pajitnov...

'Progress To 100' Review - Are We There Yet?

'Progress To 100' Review - Are We There Yet?

November 30th, 2015 12:30 PM EDT by Nathan Reinauer in $2.99, 4.5 stars, Games, Puzzle, Reviews, Universal
$2.99 Buy Now

It’s no secret that there are some pretty expensive iOS games out there. Thankfully, most of them tend to be free, but there are still a few that are a dollar or even two (twice as much!). Even worse, most of these games only use a couple of my iPad’s features. I mean, if I’m going to break the bank on a game that costs money it had better be utilizing my whole device. (Example: I bought Horizon Chase [Free] earlier this year for three entire dollars and quickly found that it only uses my touchscreen. What about the gyroscope? The microphone? The camera? Eeeeyoo, eeeyooo! Ripoff alert!) Progress to 100 [$2.99] is yet another of these wallet draining “premium” games, but I quickly found that this one is different. As I played through its hundred levels, it slowly began to dawn on me: This game uses everything. Finally!..

'Lumino City' Review - Point and Tap Adventure

November 18th, 2015 2:30 PM EDT by Chris Carter in $4.99, 4 stars, Games, iPad Games, iPhone games, Puzzle, Reviews, Universal
$4.99 Buy Now

Point and click adventure games had a wonderful, whimsical feel to them, amidst the chaos of pixel-hunting. One minute you were searching for that perfect "eureka" moment, and the next, slamming your keyboard in frustration because that one tiny little item you needed that was barring your progress for eight hours was in the corner, behind a window. It brought out the duality of emotions like no other genre, and the same goes for Lumino City [$4.99] on mobile devices...

'Ghost of Memories' Review - Dazzling and Vague

November 10th, 2015 1:00 PM EDT by Chris Carter in $2.99, 3 stars, Games, iPad Games, iPhone games, Puzzle, Reviews
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The isometric take on puzzles games isn't new, but Monument Valley did it with such panache, that it started a revolution in the mobile arena. It's such a good premise for a limited amount of screen real estate, as the view allows you to take in gigantic landscapes without getting lost, or wanting for more. Ghost of Memories [$0.99] follows that same principle, but it's  not quite as exciting as its competition...

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