Category Archives: Puzzle

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

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

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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

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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...

After the absolutely fantastic initial release of puzzle platformer Furdemption [$2.99], followed by a hefty update that added loads of new content, RareSloth's little gem is now getting all primed and ready for the addition of a level editor, which we talked about last month. Well, in an effort to get people play-testing the level editor prior to release, and to get the ball rolling on having some levels created, RareSloth is currently holding a level creation contest...

With all the recent drama surrounding iOS 9 breaking a bunch of games, you might be apt to think this sort of thing is a new problem. It isn't, iOS updates have been breaking games for years! Around this time last year, iOS 8 broke one of our all-time favorite games, Helsing's Fire [$0.99 / $2.99 (HD)]. From developer Lucas Pope, who also created Papers, Please [$7.99 (HD)], Helsing's Fire originally launched way back in July of 2010 and quickly won our hearts with its unique "illuminating" puzzle gameplay and its oodles of personality. ..

'Monkeyrama' Review - We’re Just Tryin’ To Be Friendly

Shortly before iOS took over my life, one of my favorite games was Boom Blox on the Wii. It was the brainchild of a little known game designer by the name of Steven Spielberg (who also dabbles in film, I’m told), and it was absurdly fun. There’s something about huge explosions and large structures toppling over that delights the eight year old boy in me, and Boom Blox (and especially it’s sequel, Bash Party) took over my free time for countless weeks. Ever since those days I’ve been yearning for something like that on mobile, and while there have been a couple physics-based games that provide a similar feeling (my favorite being Turbo Dismount [Free]), none have quite captured the floaty, block-on-block destruction I’ve craved since 2009. [Dramatic pause.] ...That is, until now...

'Pac-Man Bounce' Review - Free-to-Pac

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October 19th, 2015 12:52 PM EDT by Chris Carter in 3.5 stars, Free, Games, iPad Games, iPhone games, Puzzle, Reviews, Universal
Free Buy Now

Pac-Man really has withstood the test of time. Decades later he still tops the charts as one of the most recognizable mascots in gaming, and he's hosted so many spinoffs that it would take you a lifetime to play them all. It's no surprise then that he's found a new home on mobile devices. Although Pac-Man Bounce [Free] suffers from a very aggressive monetization setup, it's a fun little diversion nonetheless...

'Super Sharp' Review - Cutting Edge

'Super Sharp' Review - Cutting Edge

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October 16th, 2015 1:02 PM EDT by Nathan Reinauer in $1.99, 4.5 stars, Games, Puzzle, Reviews, Universal
$1.99 Buy Now

I don’t know about you guys, but my favorite puzzle games are the ones that make me feel like a genius. It’s an extremely delicate balance to achieve, because if the puzzles are too easy, it can feel boring. If they’re too hard, I’m going to feel like an idiot. Somewhere in between those two ends of the spectrum is a sweet spot, and it can be especially tricky to pinpoint since every person is different. Super Sharp [$1.99] hits that sweet spot for me...

'Wormarium Arcade' Review - Pac-Worm

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October 8th, 2015 2:07 PM EDT by Chris Carter in 3.5 stars, Free, Games, iPad Games, iPhone games, Puzzle, Reviews, Universal
Free Buy Now

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 EDT by Nathan Reinauer in $0.99, 4 stars, Games, Maze, Puzzle, Reviews, Universal
99¢ Buy Now

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 EDT by Nathan Reinauer in $2.99, 4.5 stars, Games, Puzzle, Reviews, Universal
$2.99 Buy Now

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...

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