Category Archives: Puzzle

'Abzorb' Review - Avoid and Conquer

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March 8th, 2016 10:06 AM EDT by Nathan Reinauer in $2.99, 4 stars, Arcade, Games, Puzzle, Reviews, Universal
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One Man Left’s classic Tilt To Live [$2.99] series is a favorite of mine, partly because of how it subverted expectations when it came out in 2010. It looked like a shooter, with the main gimmick being that you tilted your device instead of using on-screen controls. Of course, that wasn’t the only “gimmick”, as it turned out the game wasn’t even a shooter at all. Your job was to avoid enemies, rather than hunting them down. That doesn’t mean you were totally defenseless, though, as there were many power-ups that allowed you to turn the tables on the evil red dots. Gerald Kelley’s new game Abzorb [$2.99] lands even closer to the pacifist side of the spectrum, as you don’t even get power-ups to defend yourself. All you can do to avoid death is run away. Is it anywhere near as fun and frantic as Tilt To Live, though?..

Dungeon Raid [$0.99] was one of those games where, if it got its hooks into you, you probably weren't going to play anything else for a good long while. There wasn't a lot of mystery behind that, to be honest. The mechanics were familiar and simple to learn, but offered a lot of depth to the player looking for more. The RPG elements gave you a feeling of progression that isn't typically found in many other puzzle games. You could pick the game up whenever you had a few minutes and have a good time, or settle in for a longer session. I Keep Having This Dream [$1.99], the latest from Dungeon Raid developers Fireflame Games, is not the same kind of game. It's a little more opaque, a little more complex, and it comes off like it's aimed at a narrower target in general...




‘_PRISM’ Review - Wouldn’t It Be Nice To Code Together

Several times in my life I’ve fantasized about packing up my guitar and some recording equipment and moving to a remote cabin for a month or so to write and record music. Far removed from the stress, distraction, and responsibility of normal life, I’d be free to put all my energy into crafting the next Sgt. Pepper’s or Pet Sounds. (It’s a fantasy, after all.) Unfortunately, doing such a thing is a luxury most people can’t afford for a number of reasons, which means I’ll have to settle for squeezing my recording sessions into spare hours in the garage like normal...

'Pull My Tongue' Review - Harm a Harm a Harm a Chameleon

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February 12th, 2016 2:00 PM EDT by Nathan Reinauer in $0.99, 4 stars, Games, Puzzle, Reviews, Universal
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For me, one of the marks of a good puzzle game is when the main mechanics are so simple and intuitive that you have a hard time seeing how the game could possibly get challenging--and then it does. Pull My Tongue [$0.99], the latest game published by Noodlecake, is kinda like that. The first level introduces you to the core concept, which basically never changes: There’s a lizard who wants a piece of popcorn, and all you need to do is pull the tongue out of his mouth until it reaches his buttery prize. Sure, the game eventually starts adding more things to get in his way, but at the end of the day you’ll still be simply stretching the tongue to the popcorn...

Knotmania [$2.99] is the kind of game that's best enjoyed by people who get satisfaction from untangling complicated wire tangles. I don't know how headphone cords get so magically knotted up with no difficulty like that, but at least in Knotmania, you're dealing with living worm-like creatures that tangle themselves up of their own volition. Your goal: untangle those suckers. Frankly, it's the only hypothesis I've seen that makes sense. Wires are alive, and Knotmania is training for the great wire war that lies ahead of us...

'Captain Cowboy' Review - Digging Up Nostalgia

Growing up, some of my favorite games were adventure titles. Ones you could just get lost in, exploring an uncharted and dangerous world. There was something so unique about those experiences -- where you had no concept of what to expect, and no knowledge of where to go. It helped prepare me for games like King's Field and the Souls series, and I'm always grateful that developers were making games like that, testing the boundaries of the unknown. That's partially why Captain Cowboy [$1.99] is so great, as it captures the essence of so many of those bygone classics while sticking to a tried and true adventure formula...

Do you ever have a game that just does not click with you? Twofold Inc. [$3.99] is the equivalent of a restaurant where you can admire the work and craftsmanship that went into the product at hand. What you're given is made with care and skill. But understanding and respecting why something is the way it is doesn't mean that you have to like it. You can even understand why others may like it. I respect Twofold Inc. but I didn't have much fun with it...

If you've been playing Magic: The Gathering-Puzzle Quest [Free], you'll know the developers have managed to marry the two genres quite successfully and given us a pretty deep and entertaining take on the Magic universe. In other words, it's fun. Today, the game received its first major update that has added quite a few things. First of all, we are getting a new Quick Battle mode where you fight decks created by other players (but played by the AI), and while you don't lose points when defeated, you earn points that will give you rewards at the end of the event. Quick Battle now offers you a chance at cards from specific colors along with free card packs and currency...

'CombineRobot' Review - Mecha Match Three

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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

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

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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...

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