Category Archives: Puzzle

'Wormarium Arcade' Review - Pac-Worm

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October 8th, 2015 2:07 PM EST by Chris Carter in 3.5 stars, Free, Games, iPad Games, iPhone games, Puzzle, Reviews, Universal
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I still remember the first time I ever played Pac-Man. It was at the arcade, and the concept of a maze-heavy game wracked my brain for hours on end. While most of the games I had played up until that point featured a linear design, like the Super Mario series, the only real comparable title I had played at the time was Dig Dug, which still didn't prepare me for all of those taxing yellow dots. Wormarium Arcade [Free] isn't quite as good of an experience, but it still offers up some of those same thrills...

'Hocus' Review - They're Illusions, Michael

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October 8th, 2015 11:28 AM EST by Nathan Reinauer in $0.99, 4 stars, Games, Maze, Puzzle, Reviews, Universal
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When I was a kid my dad taught me how to draw a Penrose triangle, which is regarded as one of the purest example of an impossible object. I drew it on everything, and my poor teachers at the time probably thought my family was part of some secret order or something. I just find the shape kind of fascinating since it forces your brain to reset itself depending on where you’re looking. Also, isn’t it slightly mind blowing that in order to depict an object too complicated to exist in three dimensional space, you have to dumb it down to a flat plane? Maybe “too complicated” isn’t the right way to describe it (indeed, the fact that it’s missing a dimension is precisely what allows the illusion to work), but there’s still something rather enigmatic about impossible shapes. And apparently I’m not the only one who thinks so, since there are quite a few games that use the idea as the basis for mind warping puzzles. Like Hocus [$0.99], for example...




One of my favorite games growing up was The Incredible Machine. While the IP has been sadly dragged through the mud in recent years, it was once a work of art, tricking kids everywhere into partaking in what was essentially edutainment. The concept was clear -- simply get an object to its goal while using any number of over-the-top machines.  They were Rube Goldberg machines through and through, and taxed your brain just as often as they put a smile on your face. The Sequence [$0.99] is a bit more muted, but it's the same principle...

'AZZL' Review - Razzl Dazzl

'AZZL' Review - Razzl Dazzl

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October 1st, 2015 10:41 AM EST by Nathan Reinauer in $2.99, 4.5 stars, Games, Puzzle, Reviews, Universal
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I’ll admit I was a bit dismissive when I first saw the trailer for Jutiful's AZZL [$2.99]. I mean, sure, it looks really well made and has a neat idea at its core, but… it just seems like a children’s game. Ultimately, though, I couldn’t resist the the promise of a colorful, relaxing puzzler and dove in. But should I review it? Would the intelligent and discerning (and quite good looking) readers of this esteemed mobile review site even be interested in something like this? I think they might be, and I hope you’ll (they’ll?) allow me to spend the next seven paragraphs explaining why...

'Magic Flute by Mozart' Review - One Time At Bandcamp

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September 29th, 2015 12:00 PM EST by Nathan Reinauer in $1.99, 4 stars, Games, Music / Rhythm, Puzzle, Reviews, Universal
$3.99 Buy Now

I first heard about Mozart's opera The Magic Flute when I was a music major in college. I remember thinking the title was sort of ridiculous, and the plot seemed equally silly. Something about a guy and his bird buddy meeting some witches or something and then rescuing a princess somewhere. And, of course, there's a magical flute. It was hard to take seriously since opera was never my thing, but reading about it on wikipedia all these years later it actually sounds kind of interesting. The main plot is supposed to be kind of light and silly, but underneath there's a subtext about religion, reason, and enlightment. Oh! And there's an iPhone game based on it now. Did I mention that part?..

'SPL-T' Review - Simogo's Super Simple Secret Stuffed Puzzler

No developer out there is so quick to buck trends and make risky, imaginative, original titles like Simogo. Heck, they don't even have an internally consistent style or handful of genre's they stay with. They've covered puzzle, rhythm, adventure, endless, all with different atmospheres. They're basically allergic to sequels and sameness. The single thread connecting their games is their talent for great, memorable game design. So when you look at SPL-T [$2.99], and I tell you it's the latest amazing game from Simogo, I fully expect you to look confused or laugh in my face...

What do you get when you cross the idea of sentient objects from Toy Story with eastern philosophies of reincarnation, but instead of toys, the objects are tools of all kinds, from phones to frying pans to bullets to weapons of mass destruction? You get one of the stranger games available on the App Store. Throw in a great minimalist silhouette art style and puzzles of death and blood shed, and you’ve got Redden [$2.99], a nifty title from earlier this summer that I nearly overlooked entirely...

Freemium elements, aside, I’m a pretty big fan of the recent Pokemon Shuffle Mobile [Free] title to hit iOS. While I played it a bit on the Nintendo 3DS, I always thought it would work better on mobile (with others agreeing as well) and my convictions turned out to be correct when I finally installed it on my iPhone. While it has great production values and all the Pokemon allies most fans have grown to love, it’s still a match-3 freemium game. Despite the good and bad associated with that, it does mean that as a freemium game there are always a few things to keep in mind, as well as tips that can be followed in order to maximize your enjoyment with the game. We thought we’d compile a few of those in a starter guide for folks looking to get a leg up on the game...

It seems like gore sells on the App Store recently, doesn't it? Take Happy Wheels, the challenging platformer that was a surprising hit on the App Store partly because of the wonderful explosions of bones and blood that accompany each of your (frequent) failings. If you think about it, we are extremely used to death in our games (Mario doesn't bounce back when he falls off a platform - he meets an untimely, violent death), but those deaths are often bloodless, a sanitized failure that makes a game suitable for all ages while still retaining the mechanic of dying equals losing. Cute Things Dying Violently [$0.99], ApathyWorks' recent iOS port of its Xbox Live Indie Games hit, declares from as early as the title that gore is central in this puzzle-platformer game, but one shouldn't think that CTDV is all about the gore...

'Trick Shot' Review - Putter Finger

When a game has been revealed to be developed by one of the artists behind Monument Valley [$3.99], it has quite a lot to live up to. That game is an outstanding puzzler, but I’d wager about half of its appeal is the unique, wonderful visuals. It won a ton of awards and recognition--deservedly so--and I don’t envy artist Jonathan Topf for developing what could be seen as a followup of sorts. Sure, Monument Valley and his first solo outing Trick Shot [$1.99] don’t have much in common, but they are both puzzle games in their own way. And, of course, they’re pretty good lookin'...

The guys over at Simogo have earned a special place in most iOS gamers' hearts because they have delivered some amazing games such as Year Walk and the fantastic Device 6. Recently, though, they've shifted to games that straddle the divide between game and narrative and have even gone full-narrative recently with the release of a collection of stories called Year Walk Bedtime Stories for Awful Children. As a literature fanatic, I can't complain about this latest release (and I love the title too), but most gamers have been waiting to see when Simogo would shift back to producing games. Well, the wait is over becase Simogo has just released a new puzzle game called SPL-T [$2.99]. However, it wouldn't be Simogo if the game was just a straightforward game, would it?..

Ravenous Games has been around iOS for a long time. League of Evil [$2.99] was one of the first platformers on the App Store that actually worked, and it quickly became one of my favorite iPhone games. The controls were shockingly responsive (for the time), and speedrunning each level for leaderboard supremacy wasn't just doable, it was actually really fun. Of course, these days there are hundreds of platformers on the App Store and it seems the genre has come a long way since LoE took over my iDevice all those years ago. Unfortunately, though, in a lot of ways Ravenous's own games (which seem to make up about half of all the platformers on iOS) haven't changed with the times...

'Sketch Breaker' Review - Rainbow Breakout

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September 17th, 2015 11:21 AM EST by Chris Carter in 3.5 stars, Free, Games, iPad Games, iPhone games, Puzzle, Reviews, Universal
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If there's one genre I used to play as a kid but almost never dip into now, it's brick breakers. I spent hours in the family car playing Breakout on the Game Boy, and if I ever managed to find myself in a bar area waiting for people, I usually picked the brick breaker minigame on those high-tech (at the time) miniature arcade machines. The bar peanuts weren't the only thing salty at that point, because these games are difficulty and unforgiving. Sketch Breaker [Free] is basically the same principle, but with a heap of IAP settings on top...

Sometimes, I want to play games that get my brain racing and my fingers tapping like an over-excited tap dancer. Other times, I enjoy a serene gaming experience, and Triada Studio Games' Shadowmatic [$2.99] is a great specimen of the kind of games that you play to relax. If you enjoy these type of games too, then you'll be happy to hear that Shadowmatic has gone free for the first time. If you haven't played or seen Shadowmatic, you are in for a (at the very least) visual treat as the game's gorgeous. The purpose of the game is to rotate a physical object in 3D space in an attempt to make the shadow it casts look like a familiar object. If you've ever used your hands and fingers to cast the shadow of a barking dog on a wall, then you know how this game plays out...

Back in June, a little puzzle platformer by the name of Furdemption [$1.99] launched in the App Store from developer RareSloth. Underneath its adorable, unassuming look lied one of the most challenging and satisfying gaming experiences I've had in some time. Not only were its 100 initial levels fiendishly clever and well-designed, but its main bunny character was cute as a button which made for an interesting juxtaposition with the game's many gruesome death animations. It was an easy decision to award Furdemption 5 stars in our review, but just a short while later in mid-August a huge content update arrived adding 40 additional levels, new mechanics and enemies, and Game Center integration. How could it get any better than that? I'll tell you how: Furdemption is getting a level editor...

If you are a fan of the characters from the action game Batman: Arkham Knight, then you might want to play some Puzzle & Dragons [Free] for the next ten days. According to an announcement from GungHo Online Entertainment, from today until September 20th players of Puzzle & Dragons will get to enjoy plenty of content from the Batman: Arkham Knight game, one of 2015's biggest games (unless you happened to play it on the PC where it was pretty much unplayable). This crossover event includes The Arkham Knight and The Scarecrow as depicted in the Arkham Knight Game. Other characters from the Batman Universe that have already appeared in Puzzle & Dragons have been improved, and the Batman Collab Egg Machine now features six special characters, including a new version of Harley Quinn...

Logic puzzle games are the bane of my brain. Note that I refrained from using "bane of my existence" because I actually like puzzles titles quite a bit, but more often than not, they'll stump me far more often than a hardcore action experience or number-heavy RPG. It's the simpler concepts that usually throw me for a loop, as I tend to overthink them and completely miss the trees for the forest. That's kind of how I approached Sputnik Eyes [$1.99], a charming little puzzler that will stump you for days on end...

'Lara Croft Go' Review - Spear Beats Gun

I'm so glad that Square Enix has let its Montreal branch go crazy with great ideas for mobile versions of their licenses. Like, Lara Croft Relic Run [Free] isn't the worst idea since Temple Run [Free] exists, but did the world really need it? Instead, Square Enix Montreal has gotten to go wild with clever and whimsical concepts such as Hitman Go [$4.99] and Hitman Sniper [$1.99]. Now, they expand out into the Tomb Raider franchise with Lara Croft Go [$4.99], which takes the Hitman Go formula of being a turn-based board-style game and makes it about solving puzzles and staying alive in the tomb raiding setting. It abandons the board game style of Hitman Go, while keeping similar gameplay. And much like Hitman Go, it winds up doing some really clever things that make it another must-play game...

'Tiny Empire' Review - Waging War With Cannons

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September 2nd, 2015 6:00 PM EST by Eric Ford in $2.99, 3.5 stars, Action, Arcade, Games, iPad Games, iPhone games, Puzzle, Reviews, Universal
$2.99 Buy Now

At first glance, Tiny Empire [$2.99] by Mother Gaia Studios acts suspiciously like another giant game franchise that resides within the physics-based launching genre. There’s projectile aiming, enemies you want to destroy, and a few twists on the ammunition being tossed. However, beyond the gameplay similarities is decent example of a title taking a genre that has been dominated by a huge developer and creating just enough change that it can stand on its own...

'Zoombinis' Review - Edutainment at its Most Adorable

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September 1st, 2015 10:59 AM EST by Chris Carter in $4.99, 3.5 stars, Games, iPad Games, Puzzle, Reviews
$4.99 Buy Now

As a kid, I was pretty big into edutainment games. Any excuse to play video games in school I took, from Number Munchers to Oregon Trail. Some titles were more "entertainment" than "education," but I ran with it anyway -- and in some cases, I taught my fellow classmates how to earn a high score. Good enough, right?  However, in all my childhood I never had a chance to play Zoombinis [$4.99 (HD)]. I'm glad that I changed that recently with its iPad release, even if it hasn't aged all that well...

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