Category Archives: Puzzle

The practice of cloning is troublesome for many reasons. There are the obvious problems, but beyond those, the fear of a game being perceived as a clone stifles the natural process of building on a great idea. We've seen some pretty shameful clones in the App Store's history, but perhaps none of them have been as harmful to the original game as 2048 was to Threes! [$2.99]. A marketplace battle took place, and I think it's safe to say a lot of people felt the wrong game won there. I'm not sure if the cloud hanging over that has kept more developers from taking a crack at ideas inspired by Threes!, but if it has, more's the shame. Still, we see the odd swing at doing something interesting with the compelling swiping and combining mechanism that Threes! introduced so well. The latest is Dungeon Tiles [Free], from developer Takashi Iyoda...

One of the unique phenomenons of the App Store ecosystem is the sudden and inexplicable rise of certain games. While the holy grail of creating an app that skyrockets to the top of the charts was merely a pipe dream for the vast majority of developers, it was also a reason why the iOS gaming scene became so popular - especially in the early days. Perchang [$1.99] - with its current position at #3 for paid apps in both the UK and US at time of writing, and #1 of all paid games in the former - joins the extremely exclusive club of chart toppers that don't feature a bird motif, and appears to have achieved overnight success purely through creating a beautiful premium experience that has caught the eye of everyone from App Store veterans to those who rarely use their mobile devices for gaming...




Philipp Stollenmayer, aka Kamibox, is the creator of Sometimes You Die [$1.99], a minimalist platformer that turned out to be much more than it appeared on the surface and through clever platforming mechanics it also delivers commentary on the genre itself, video games as a whole, and even life as we know it. It's a very powerful and thought-provoking experience. He also made Pancake - The Game [Free], a game about flipping pancakes. It should say a lot that both of those titles, while spanning a wide gap of what people expect a game to be, are among my favorites on iOS, and Kamibox has consistently put out highly playable and interesting games for years now. The latest is called Squaredance [Free], which arrived yesterday and is a minimalist puzzler that uses a swipe-the-whole-board-at-once mechanic similar to Threes! [$2.99 / Free]. This isn't a high score chaser though, as each level has a different board shape which makes your goal of combining all like-colored squares in order to remove them that much more difficult...

'POLYFORGE' Brings the Zen Back to the App Store This July

The App Store and mobile gaming in general can have a legitimate claim to pioneer many aspects of the medium that are, in 2016, taken for granted. The obvious ones may be popularising touch screens, gyroscopic controls or the freemium/IAP focused monetisation system, however personally following the iOS scene for so long has shown to me how video games can be more of a transcendental experience. Zen Bound [$2.99] and its sequel by Secret Exit were the key examples of this - a soothing musical score coupled with calming yet stimulating gameplay and visuals created something that was more than the sum of its parts. POLYFORGE - A Symphony of Shapes, Sound and Color by Impact Blue Studios appears to be aiming for a similar experience, and the developers have released a trailer showing off its unique style and mechanics:..

'Mighty Match' Merges Match 3 and Dungeon Crawling on iOS, Coming Soon

Amidst the ever increasing influx of free to play games that are riddled with timers and in game currency, there has been a backwards reaction from fans and developers alike rejecting this culture and desiring an experience that is immediate and complete from the moment you download it. Even though there are some excellent freemium games such as Clash Royale [Free], and such a pricing model normally has its merits, publisher Playmium have decided to make their own stand. They have pledged to only produce games with zero IAPs that are completely sponsored, meaning you will never have to pay for their releases. Mighty Match is the newest game from the developers, and despite its interesting monetisation, it seems like a very interesting app in its own right...

Winner of $25,000 Apple TV Design Contest 'Dungeon Tiles' Launches June 29th, Also on iOS

It's no secret that the expectation of Apple TV becoming a fully fledged gaming platform that Apple outlined so enthusiastically back in October 2015 has not ended up being a reality. While the initial surge - with titles such as Guitar Hero Live - was particularly strong, it has tailed off to a point where apart from the occasional Apple TV compatibility update there aren't any massive compelling reasons to consider purchasing one of the magical black boxes purely for gaming purposes. However, things are looking up for the Apple TV, with news of the ability to require the use of game controllers as outlined at WWDC and also upcoming games such as Dungeon Tiles, which has even managed to win mobile marketing company AppLovin's $25,000 'Apple TV App Challenge' prize and launches on Apple TV and iOS for free on the June 29th...

Never Alone: Ki Edition [$4.99] is a game that seems to set out to do at least two things. First and foremost, it's trying to deliver an atmospheric puzzle-platformer game. It mostly succeeds at that, though it certainly makes a few mistakes that we see fairly often in this sub-genre. Never Alone also seeks to educate the player, at least a little bit, on the folklore and culture of the Inupiat people, and in this aim, it's a considerable success. The game doesn't force any of this on you, but rather focuses on the core gameplay and stunning visuals. It's an enjoyable game on those terms, but if you choose to delve into the extra content, you'll be able to appreciate Never Alone in a new light...

'Human Resource Machine' Review - Sine of Greatness

Any video game which attempts to include educational elements has to run a very fine line or risk alienating a significant proportion of their potential userbase. Make it too simple and people who already understand the concepts will likely not find any enjoyment - however if it’s too difficult, it may be too overbearing and tedious for the average gamer to pick up. Most of all, however, it has to be an enjoyable experience, and Human Resource Machine [$4.99] manages to provide something for everyone while being a deceptively difficult yet rewarding initiation into coding...

You may not love the free to play "games as services" model, but one thing that it does allow is a more constant revenue stream which can enable the steady flow of updates over months and years that we've come to expect from our mobile games. Bad Piggies [Free / Free (HD)] originally launched as a paid title much like its sibling Angry Birds, and despite one freebie promotion way back in 2013 it's remained that way ever since. However, that one-time dollar entry fee seems to not be covering Rovio's ambitions of keeping the game constantly updated, so today they've rolled out a huge version 2.0 update to Bad Piggies along with a price switch down to free. ..

As we all know, love it or hate it, freemium is a concept that is never going away. That said, there is a very specific subset of freemium that I like to call freemium fan service games. When a popular franchise or intellectual property wants to cash in on their loyal fan-base, slapping together a freemium game set within that world seems to be the way to go. But you know what? I love it sometimes. I’m pretty susceptible to some good fan service myself, and sometimes; not often, but sometimes, it makes the whole game worthwhile. Games like Star Trek Timelines [Free], while largely disliked by our community, still appealed to me as a huge trekkie, and the fan service within that game was fantastic. Well, if you’re partial to the ‘Tales of’ franchise of JRPG’s, then Tales of Link [Free] is the freemium fan service game for you, and has nothing to do with The Legend of Zelda if that’s also where your mind immediately jumped...

Seemingly out of nowhere this morning, a port of the PC game Human Resource Machine [$4.99] was released on the App Store. From the developers who brought us indie classics such as World of Goo [$4.99] and Little Inferno [$4.99], anyone who did not play the original game on Steam can be assured it's both an excellent puzzle title and a very solid port to boot. While appearing to be a simple puzzle game, Experimental Gameplay Group have added an interesting educational aspect to the title as it demonstrates how the inside of a computer works, but with their signature art style instead of an endless list of binary, which certainly would not be as fun to play. Here's a launch trailer from the original PC release to help get your head around the gameplay:..

'Mekorama' Review - Mechanical Valley

'Mekorama' Review - Mechanical Valley

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May 26th, 2016 11:00 AM EST by Chris Carter in 4.5 stars, Free, Games, iPad Games, iPhone games, Puzzle, Reviews, Universal
Free Buy Now

Isometric puzzle games pretty much have me at hello. There's something about the lovely god-like viewpoint that gives me a sense of wonder, in addition to a strict sense of control, that I really dig. Monument Valley [$1.99] is pretty much the king of the mobile space when it comes to those experiences, yet a number of games have risen to the call and have cemented themselves as worthy adversaries. While Mekorama [Free] isn't as attractive when it comes to its art style (the base game clocks in at just 8MB!), it makes up for it in charm, and a pretty nifty level editor...

Back in March we told you about Mekorama, a slick new puzzler from developer Martin Magni, who brought us last year's hit puzzle platformer Odd Bot Out [$3.99]. Over the weekend, Mekorama [Free] officially launched in the App Store and so far it's been creating quite the buzz in our community. Mekorama is similar to the hit Monument Valley [$1.99] in that you're guiding your character along a 3D structure to a specific end point. Levels don't necessarily have impossible perspectives like that Escher-inspired game, but there are various moving parts and puzzle-like elements to pass on your journey. There are 50 pre-made levels included but the real heart and soul of Mekorama is in its fantastic level editor and sharing levels online with the world...

'Amidakuji Knight' Review - Choose a Path

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May 12th, 2016 11:00 AM EST by Chris Carter in $0.99, 4 stars, Free, Games, iPad Games, iPhone games, Puzzle, Reviews
99¢ Buy Now

Many years ago, I encountered a really cool boss in a game called Mega Man X. As one of the last encounters leading up to the final fight, players were locked in a room with a giant robotic spider, with multiple metal "webs" hanging from the ceiling. Every few seconds the webs would change, and create new pathways for the spider to travel. The rules were simple -- it had to follow the journey of least resistance, and turn down every path it could. It was interesting because players could deduce where the spider would fall with any given pattern, but they had to be fast enough to figure it out before he landed on you. That concept is basically how the entire game of Amidakuji Knight [$0.99] works, to great success. The concept not only translates perfectly to a touchscreen, but the developers also extend it a bit with a full-on level-up and gear system. After a quick setup that involves a heroic knight and his quest to locate a valuable talisman across three chapters, players are off to the overworld, where they're presented with a number of choices, represented with paths. Each board has five in all, which will lead you to an end goal -- whether it's an enemy to fight and gain experience from, gold, or an item...

It was just over a week ago we were telling you about the soft-launch of EA's latest take on the grandfather of matching games Bejeweled, called Bejeweled Skies at one point but officially changed to Bejeweled Stars at some point during the soft-launch. Well, apparently the testing period is over and went well as Bejeweled Stars [Free] is now available in the US App Store. Check out this wacky trailer for Bejeweled Stars that easily could have been made by Mike Meade himself...

Raresloth's fantastic puzzle platformer King Rabbit [Free] is getting ready to be injected with a huge amount of new content this Thursday. As they've detailed in our forums, this update is dubbed the Fire Adventures Update and comes with 16 new campaign levels that'll be free for all existing owners, plus an additional 64 new levels in the Fire Adventures DLC pack which will launch at a sale price of 99¢ for the first 72 hours. That's like not even two cents per new level! In addition to new levels, there are now 8 characters to unlock and play as: Peach, Snobby, Albino, Demon, Jackalope, Leprechaun, Zombie, and Lovely. This update will also include 10 new unlockable customizations so you can trick out whichever character you prefer with some sweet flare. Both the new characters and the customizations are unlockable with diamonds, which by the way are now labeled on the level selection screens so you know which levels have them and which don't. Completionists rejoice! Check out this brand new trailer for the Fire Adventures Update...

'INKS.' Review - Paintball Wizard

'INKS.' Review - Paintball Wizard

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$1.99 Buy Now

There are a few ways you can look at INKS. [$1.99], the latest release from Lumino City [$4.99] developer State Of Play. On the one hand, it's a beautiful piece of interactive art, allowing each player to uniquely paint a design based on how they play. On the other hand, it's probably State Of Play's most conventional game yet, since it's really just pinball at its core. That's a genre which has no shortage of excellent entries on the iOS platform, and when compared on a strictly mechanical basis against them, INKS. is far from the front of the pack. You have to take it as a fusion of both of those things to see it on its best merits, I think. If nothing else, it will teach you more than a few things about how to play pinball, and it does it in quite the artistic fashion...

If you're a Playstation owner, then this story should make you doubly happy. The just-released Uncharted: Fortune Hunter [Free] is an action-puzzle adventure following Uncharted's Nathan Drake as he continues to uncover the treasures of some of history's greatest heroes (or villains). A clear tie-in to Uncharted 4: A Thief's End, releasing May 10th, Uncharted: Fortune Hunter has you solving 200 deadly puzzle chambers all the while following various legends of history across six adventures. Since this is an Uncharted game, there are plenty of things to collect - all stolen from somewhere, I'm sure - and you can even partner with your friend Sully. The visuals are cartoony and fun, and the game feels well made, so if you like the Uncharted series or simply like fun puzzle games, you should enjoy this one...

'Yo-Kai Watch Wibble Wobble' Review - Tap, Combine, and Pop

I am absolutely fascinated with Yo-Kai Watch. I've played the localized 3DS game, I watch the television show, and I have several trinkets from the toy line, including the actual titular watch. Having visited Japan for the first time last year I had the good fortune of speaking to residents about what a "Yo-kai" actually is, and how they differ from ghosts or other commonly known spirits. They're mischievous in nature, just like the "gremlins" in western folklore, which sets the perfect tone for a game featuring a crazy red cat that knows kung fu and calls his attacks "Paws of Fury." Yo-Kai Watch Wibble Wobble [Free] is the latest creation in this cross-media venture, and it draws a lot of influence from modern puzzle hits like the Tsum Tsum series in a good way...

'Zenge' Review - Everything Slides Into Place

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April 22nd, 2016 11:39 AM EST by Chris Carter in $0.99, 4 stars, Games, iPad Games, iPhone games, Puzzle, Reviews, Universal
99¢ Buy Now

At a very young age, I was trained for puzzle games. You know, putting those square pegs into their appropriate holes, Operation to meticulously work on my reaction times, and so on. All of those tabletop experiences trained me for what was to come down the road, when I had to put those same pegs into hundreds of different locations over the years, dreamed up by some of the most prophetic puzzle designers the world has ever seen. That includes Zenge [$0.99], which takes the core premise of shifting around different shapes into one magnificent canvas...

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