Category Archives: Puzzle

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
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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 [$2.99]. 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
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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
$2.99 Buy Now

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 [$2.99] follows that same principle, but it's  not quite as exciting as its competition...

I don’t know about all of you, but I was a pretty big Heroes fan when it was on TV. Yes, even beyond the first season, when the plot was crippled by writer’s strikes and a lack of focus and direction. I always found the characters endearing and I liked this less fantastical take on an X-Men kind of world. Great characters like ‘Horn Rimmed Glasses’ Noah Bennet, his lovely daughter the regenerating cheerleader Claire, the ever dramatic Petrelli family, and especially the boundlessly cheerful and entertaining Hiro Nakamura (My love of Sylar is variable to the season I’m watching). So imagine my (guarded) optimism and hope when a new series was announced in Heroes Reborn!..

'The Room Three' Review - My, How You've Grown

'The Room Three' Review - My, How You've Grown

November 5th, 2015 12:28 AM EDT by Shaun Musgrave in $4.99, 5 stars, Adventure, iPad Games, iPhone games, Puzzle, Reviews
$4.99 Buy Now

Perhaps it's appropriate, but The Room [Free / $0.99 (HD)], the original one, is one of those games where it's hard to take it apart piece by piece and find what exactly makes it so great. Like a real puzzle box, it's almost impossible not to sit there fiddling around with the box, pulling at its many bits and pieces. Its limited scope, with just a big box sitting on a table, means that it isn't too hard to make progress as long as you kept trying things, and if you do manage to get stuck, the game has a really well-designed hint system. You keep moving forward, and feeling pretty clever most of the time. The story sits firmly in the background for most of the game, with little details you can pay attention to or ignore as you like. Whether or not you pay attention to the narrative, the atmosphere is hard to resist. As you keep whittling down the puzzles, it's hard not to wonder what kind of person makes a device like this...

And just like that, The Room Three [$4.99], Fireproof Games' fantastic puzzle game series, is out on the App Store. I knew the game would be coming out soon, but I wasn't expecting it to hit this early. If you haven't played any of the previous game, first of all, shame on you because the first two are easily some of the best puzzle games on the App Store. The games are gorgeous, perfectly designed for touchscreen gaming, and carry with them an atmosphere of mystery and dread that is surpassed by few games on mobile. The Room Three takes place in a variety of new environments, each spanning multiple areas, and has even better visuals than the previous two games, which I wasn't sure it was possible to be honest. There are better lighting effects and definitely more detail to the various rooms...

'Furdemption' Level Creation Contest Winners Revealed and Sequel Announced

A couple of weeks back, we told you about the level creation contest developer Raresloth was holding for their wonderful puzzle platformer Furdemption [$2.99], and this past Friday the winners of that contest were announced. Receiving the grand prize of a $25 iTunes gift card is the level "Just Dodge" created by Makoto. In 2nd place is "A fast shove" created by Snowblzr, who will receive $15 in iTunes credit. Finally in 3rd place and taking home $10 in iTunes credit is "Destroy" by Compakeo. Here's a video showcasing the top three winning levels, check 'em out!..

It feels like the design document of Zombie Match Defense [$1.99] involved putting a bunch of popular App Store things in a bag and shaking liberally. I can't lie, it's not a very appealing prospect, mostly because I've seen so many games go very wrong with this kind of approach. Happily, this game fares better than most that make the effort, mostly due to not trying to combine too many disparate elements. Essentially, it's got the whole zombie-themed lane-based defense gameplay as seen in Plants Vs. Zombies [$0.99], mixed in with a turn-based match-3 puzzle game as seen in roughly 23,000 other games on the App Store.  It blends together quite nicely, and the result certainly feels distinct from its inspirations, so it avoids two of the bigger pitfalls of genre mash-ups. Ultimately, what keeps Zombie Match Defense from being as good as it ought to be is also quite common: it has a good concept, but doesn't do enough with it...

Brothers: A Tale Of Two Sons [$4.99] is a tragic story about personal loss and the things we do to deal with those situations. For example, when Sony's The Last Guardian appeared to have been canceled and designer Fumito Ueda left the company, I coped by replaying Ico and Shadow Of The Colossus. Starbreeze Studios, on the other hand, appear to have coped by creating this game, a gushing love letter to one of gaming's most unique developers. It would have been easy for this to feel cynical or uninspired, but to its credit, Brothers generally feels like its own gorgeous thing, albeit with a few tips of the hat here and there. While I didn't feel it quite hit the target it was aiming for, it's still a trip worth taking...

Depending on your persuasion, the first thing you'll do when you fire up Please, Don't Touch Anything [$4.99] and get the one bit of narrative over how you shouldn't touch anything is one of two things. One, you'll do nothing and the game will end when the person who told you not to touch anything returns. Two, you hit the big red button, flip the switch that pops up, and then hit the button again. This causes the city on the screen in front of you to blow up. Whoops!..

While there have been a few neat cross-overs in the English version of Gungho's Puzzle & Dragons [Free], like various DC Comics characters, Angry Birds [Free], and Clash Of Clans [Free], there's no arguing that it's been a pale shadow of the Japanese version, which has seen collaborations with Dragon Ball, Ghost In The Shell, Monster Hunter, Evangelion, and countless others. Earlier this year, there was even something of a "Dream Team" mash-up as several characters from Square Enix's Final Fantasy series joined the game. The old boss meeting the new boss, as it were...

Laura Kinney was created in a lab, the 23rd attempt to create a clone from Wolverine's DNA. Dubbed X-23, she escapes confinement in the lab, seeks out Wolverine and enrolls in the Xavier Institute. Now, X-23 has donned the blue and yellow suit and is set to take on the roll of All-New Wolverine in a brand new comic series soon, and also in Marvel Puzzle Quest [Free] on mobile this Wednesday...

In space, nobody can hear you scream because you were just slightly off with that black hole you placed down, careening your ship just to the side of the key you needed, flying into the barrier around the goal that you thought would be down. Maybe next time, AGRAV [Free]. This game of black holes will fluster you, but it's rewarding, and its entry price point – 30 levels for free with an IAP for more – is unbeatable...

'Super Happy Fun Block' Review - It's Super Fun, And That Makes Me Happy

Even though I should know better by now, I still frequently make judgements from the names of games. An evocative title will catch my attention and get me curious enough to at least give a game a try, while a generic one might leave a game lost in the shuffle. It's especially a problem on a platform with as many on-going releases as iOS. Super Happy Fun Block [$1.99] has a pretty plain name. It's so plain that even after it was recommended to me by someone whose opinion I really respect, I downloaded the game and left it unplayed for a while. When I finally did get around to it, I found a pretty amazing puzzle-platformer with a nice sense of style that few people seem to have noticed. Well, hopefully the old adage about late being better than never has some truth to it, because while the name might be bland, the game is fantastic and more people ought to be playing it...

'Lunar Flowers' Review - Rock the Dragon

October 22nd, 2015 12:30 PM EDT by Chris Carter in 4 stars, Free, Games, iPad Models, iPhone games, Puzzle, Reviews, Universal
99¢ Buy Now

I think the games as art debate is pretty much done in my view. Yes, games can be art, and in their own unique way, provide us with an alternate viewpoint that can enrich us both spiritually and culturally. While Lunar Flowers [Free] isn't exactly a life-changing event, it's a pretty fun little game, and a beautiful work of art...

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