iPad Puzzle games, a fine line between challenging and plain too hard :)

Discussion in 'iPhone and iPad Games' started by ficbot, Nov 16, 2008.

  1. ficbot

    ficbot Well-Known Member

    Oct 21, 2008
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    #1 ficbot, Nov 16, 2008
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2008
    Does anyone else play a lot of puzzle games? I am curious to get your opinions on games which you find just right and games which you find too hard. I don't like the game to be insanely easy. I want to think a little. But some of them I just find too hard, and I don't want to get burned again on a game which is unplayable after the first few levels. Here are some games I found too hard:

    Hiqup: I only got through the tutorial levels and the first few regular ones
    Dizzy Bee: Same thing, after about 5 levels, I was not able to go further.
    Enigmo: Much too hard. I only got through about 3 levels
    Enso Dot: Again, after about level 4 it got too frustrating
    Hexterity: Impossible to predict how pieces would fit. Very frustrating.
    Pakoon: Made it to level 6
    Spin: Big regret about this one, fell for the buzz. Controls are difficult
    Sumcession: Might have worked for me, with smaller numbers :)

    And some games that are 'just right' for me:

    Everest Hidden Expedition
    Imangi (and most word games)
    Mouse About (wound up deleting though because it took ages to load)
    Pipes (love this one!)
    Smiles
    Spin Dice
    Squares
    Subway Shuffle
    Marple
    Tanzen
    Kugon (love this one!)
    Trace
    Smiles
    Numba (wound up deleting though because it drains battery fast)

    So what are your recs for puzzle games that are too hard versus just right? Am I missing out on any great ones?
     
  2. eeenmachine

    eeenmachine Well-Known Member

    Oct 24, 2008
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    Independent Game Developer
    San Diego, CA
    Have you tried Hanoi? Seems to vary from person to person whether its too hard or not.
     
  3. Topple has a bit of a difficulty curve problem. Stages 1-7 range from very easy to fairly easy. Then stage 8 hits you like a p!ssed off koala bear!

    One puzzle game I love is CubicMan Deluxe, conveniently reviewed today on my blog in a comparison review with Action Blox (link in my signature).

    You mention Trace- this, as far as I am concerned, is the perfect mix of platforming and puzzle. It's just a shame it ends so soon.
     
  4. No Hero

    No Hero Well-Known Member

    Oct 20, 2008
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    Well, it's different for every player, I finished all of Pakoon. (There is a thread if u need help on that somewhere) Trace was not that challenging, its more of a timing jumps game (which makes it fun)
     
  5. ficbot

    ficbot Well-Known Member

    Oct 21, 2008
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    Have not tried Hanoi. As for Topple, I got to level 7 then stopped, now I just goof around in free play mode when I want to.

    Thanks for the tip about Cubicman, it is on sale for 0.99 so I may buy it :)
     
  6. brewstermax

    brewstermax Well-Known Member


    OMG. Enigmo, really. I find Enigmo, absolutely perfect for the balance between the two, but I have played the desktop version, so that might be it. Level 60 on Trace is way too hard, and I've yet to beat it, and I beat all the other levels, so I just deleted that one. AquaForest by Hudson is really good, and have a nice blend, except for Hot Ball/ Cold Ball, which is just too hard, either that or I'm missing something. You might want to revisit Enigmo though.
     
  7. tizzyler03

    tizzyler03 Well-Known Member

    Pathways is a great game! not too challenging but challenging enough for pure enjoyment! like someone said earlier Subway Shuffle is awesome too!
     
  8. Valmont

    Valmont Active Member

    Oct 24, 2008
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    I'm personally also finding Enigmo to be a good balance of difficulty, although I'm still in the 20's on it. I beat Pakoon 3 and loved that game. Some of the levels did take a bit of figuring out to get, but I thats part of why I liked it a lot. And as for Pathways, its very interesting cause I've heard of some people that have a very hard time on it, even on the earlier stages before the 20's and some people don't run into real trouble until after 20's. I did find the whole game challenging but not too challenging. It seems to be that its different for every person and one type of puzzle game can be challenging for one person could be easy for another. Personally, I enjoy having to struggle for a while on puzzles, it makes it that much more rewarding when you finally do figure it out :D
     
  9. CloneWars

    CloneWars Well-Known Member

    Sep 22, 2008
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    Bank Robber
    Atlantic Ocean
    Agreed,
    at first i thought that it was easy and then level 8 no chance
     
  10. Coral

    Coral Well-Known Member

    Sep 29, 2008
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    Still stuck on level 9 with Topple. I have been in reach of the line but could never pass it.
    As for Enigmo I don't have the iPhone version but the desktop one isn't too bad at all. I rarely get the bonus but I have made it through well over 40 levels. I would assume they are the same on the iPhone.
     
  11. snow_mani

    snow_mani Well-Known Member

    Oct 20, 2008
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    #11 snow_mani, Nov 16, 2008
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2008
    Hi, I'm snow_mani and I am a puzzling addict!

    I never realised just how much of a puzzling addict I am!

    ficbot - Here is a selection of puzzle games that you haven't listed. I have tried lots of others but thought I would stop before this post became way too long.

    I find I much prefer to chip away at puzzle games. That is I don't try to finish them in one go. If I get stuck I will leave the game for a few days and try later.

    Cubic Man
    A lite version is available.
    Stunning 3D graphics and gameplay. I think there are 100 levels all up.
    Strange mixture of difficulty. I've found some levels really easy and some challenging. It's like a cross between a Sokoban type game and Pathways. You "roll" a rectangular cube around a maze like platform. Your aim is to stand the cube upright on the home tile. This completes the level and you go on to the next level. There are special tiles that raise lowered tiles and some that teleport you to another part of the level. The base of the cube takes up one square and the side of the cube takes up two squares. So the puzzle is all about planning your moves so that the cube is correctly positioned to trigger the special tiles, navigate corners, etc. All without making a mistake and sending the cube falling off the platform. There are two game modes. I've only played in arcade mode. Arcade mode counts the total number of moves you have made to finish all the levels. It keeps a running total as you complete each level. Great puzzle and fantastic value.

    Theseus & Minotaur
    No lite version, but a free demo can be downloaded of the PC/MAC version.
    There are 87 levels all up. You can play any level as they are all unlocked. It is a strange mixture of difficulty. I've found some levels really easy and some challenging. The aim in this puzzler is to reach the exit of the maze before the Minotaur catches you. The Minotaur moves only according to specific rules. The iphone and demo version explains the rules very well. I found it much easier to understand after trying it for myself. I checked out the demo version on the internet first before I purchased this puzzle.

    PuzzleManiak games
    They have a range of puzzle games. These can be purchased seperately or in a game pack. Some of them have lite version that contain the easy version of those games. After trying the lite versions I purchased Networks and Tents. Networks is the same concept as Pipes. If you liked Pipes you will like Networks. Well worth a look. Especially as the developer is gradually improving the games, options and asthetics.

    Masyu Bug
    This is a great little free puzzler. I've found it to be somewhat easy to play. You have to form an unbroken loop that passes through all the dots. Black dots have different rules from the white dots. You have to form the loop while meeting the rules of each dot. You can play any level as they are all unlocked. The dev has other Masyu games that I will be purchasing once I've finished all the puzzles in this one.

    Picross Touch
    There is no lite version available, but PuzzleManiak have a similar game that I didn't like (the name escapes me) and Pixel Cross have a lite version that you can check out to get a feel of the game play (this lite version is super, super easy though). Based on the iTunes review left by Wastedyuthe, I purchased this game instead of the competitor (Pixel Cross). This is a mosaic, hanjie or nonogram game. I love these types of puzzles. I only took a quick look at this as I am saving it for my next plane trip. I do like that you can set the colour scheme in this puzzle.

    Parking Lot style games
    Do you like the Parking Lot style games? If you haven't played these before check out the lite version of Square Master. Parking Lot games are like one of those sliding puzzles where there is a gap in the playing board and you have to slide the tiles around to form a picture. Only for parking lot games you are not forming a picture. You are trying to get a specific tile to the gap or exit in the board. There are lots of this genre of game in the app store. I've played a few and particularly like Square Master and Blocked. They both have lots of levels and different features. There is also a good free version called Kitten Escape. I think the dev of this one is Japanese and used an on-line translator to translate the instructions and website for English users. It does not effect playablity, but caused me to smile when I tried to report a minor bug to them! Kitten Escape has only 8 puzzles but featured different mixture of blocks in the 3 I've played so far (number of sizes changed) and I discovered an animated replay of completed games in the Scores section. Very nice. Plus the kitten meows when you solve the puzzle and some of the blocks have kitten paw print cutouts (but don't let that put you off playing!).

    Funny Twist
    I found this very easy and short but still enjoyable. It is a polished game with only 10 levels. And the game has a practice mode. I checked out the dev and they have a range of games. It seems these are all ports of their games for other mobile devices. It also seems that they are all short in nature. The game board has a group of faces on it. The aim is to get certain faces to certain positions on the board. You do this by rotating the faces. Imagine a circle that is made up of 7 faces. There are 6 faces on the outside and one in the middle. You touch the face in the middle and the 6 on the outside change position in a clockwise direction. This is how you move the faces around the gameboard. I really found this fun and it is a shame there are not more levels or a pro version with more levels.

    Mastermind
    Mastermind is the iphone version of an old classic. Master mind is free until 21st November and is worth checking out. You try to break the colour code by first guessing and then using logic. There are different levels and a setting for colourblind players. My only complaint about it is that I found it annoying that the colour selector was not permanently displayed and would pop up each and every time I selected a peg hole. It should be permanently displayed at the top or side. Then you could select a colour and then the peg hole.

    Rolo
    I picked this up for free on the weekend. They have a lite version too. But as the entire game is free until 21st November I recommend skipping the lite version! I took a quick look and found it really easy but fun to play. Kind of like Imangi but with coloured balls and not as sophisticated. The aim of the game is to move the columns and rows until the board matches the image you are given. I don't know how many levels are in it (EDIT: I should have read the game description! There are 45 levels with more on the way) and I don't know if the difficulty ramps up on higher levels. But hey its free at the moment and it is worth checking out.

    Critter Crunch
    There is a lite version available.
    This game has two modes of play. One is a puzzle mode. Be aware that the puzzle mode is unlocked in stages as you complete the adventure mode. I am really enjoying Critter Crunch, but would prefer to be able to access all the puzzle mode without having to complete sections of the other mode first. Lots of fun once you get the hang of it.
     
  12. bhearn

    bhearn Member

    Oct 23, 2008
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    Thank you!

    Honestly, though, I don't expect anybody to actually *finish* Subway Shuffle. My intention was to have sufficient levels so that however into it you get, there will always be something there to challenge you. It's open-ended entertainment.

    If you can make it up to around level 70... then kudos to you; it's seriously hard at that level. The last few levels are borderline impossible, although one person I know of has solved all but the last (81).
     
  13. Rocketman919

    Rocketman919 Well-Known Member

    Aug 8, 2008
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    Cali-forn-i-a
    You are just not very smart.
     
  14. vaelsh

    vaelsh Well-Known Member

    Aug 26, 2008
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    Rexburg, ID
    ficbot, I have to disagree about SPiN. It feels very easy to use and fun too! I have gotten to around level 32 with some practice! Give it another go and with practice, you'll get it! Enigmo, I think is too hard for me too. Pathways I am loving and at times makes me scream, "This isn't possible!" at my iPod Touch. Pakoon III is insane but cool once you figure out how it works, like how boxes are moved and such. I also like you, love Trace and Tan Zen! Trace is fabulous with a touch of the impossible now and again.:D
     
  15. ficbot

    ficbot Well-Known Member

    Oct 21, 2008
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    Wow. What a thing to say. I'm not even sure how to respond to that.

    Thanks for the recs, snow_mani. I noticed the free rolo and had downloaded it but have not had a chance to try it yet. I'll check out the others on your list.
     
  16. moopf

    moopf Well-Known Member

    Sep 16, 2008
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    Interesting! I know the later levels are hard but I haven't had anybody comment on the earlier levels being too tough. The problem with puzzle games are that (a) people's minds work in different ways (one person might be good with numbers, another with letters or words, another with spatial awareness, another this lateral thinking etc.) so whilst a game might be hard for some it can also be easy for others and (b) when creating levels for puzzle games, you wouldn't believe how difficult it is!

    Creating the levels in Hiqup took the bulk of the development time, constantly tweaking levels, trying to get the right order, trying them out on people etc. It's very difficult to get the pitch right and I don't profess to be an expert on that. But, that's part of the reason why I put the gold, silver and bronze levels in on each level so you don't have to get it 100% right in order to progress. I didn't want people to get endlessly stuck so wanted to make it easier for them to progress, sorry if I got that wrong for you.

    Anyway, I appreciate the feedback, honestly. It's always good to know how people find my stuff :)
     
  17. ficbot

    ficbot Well-Known Member

    Oct 21, 2008
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    Moopf: it might help if there was some kind of hint system, like if you get stuck, you can get one hint and it will flash one key piece that you should start with?

    You're right about different skills. I am terrible with directions, and that is a spatial awareness thing too, isn't it? I am great at word games though!
     
  18. Oliver

    Oliver Well-Known Member

    I also stopped playing Hiqup because it got too difficult and I had to forethink too much to fit in my head ;). I was at level 9 or so (1 1/2 "worlds" finished). But please don't change the difficulty level. It was just fine. There's also a level in Numba where I'm stuck, but I'm trying and trying and trying :).
     
  19. moopf

    moopf Well-Known Member

    Sep 16, 2008
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    I think the chances of me adding new features to Hiqup are slim to nil now - I just can't justify it :) But I may push out an update soon with some extra levels in, if I can find the time to put them together!
     
  20. polyplay

    polyplay Well-Known Member

    Aug 13, 2008
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    Enigmo is pretty great, especially given the downloadable level packs. And that "skip to the next level" cheat helps out a lot when I just want to move on.

    The problem with Dizzy Bee is that I can complete all the levels, but getting near perfect on some of them is practically impossible. I love the star levels that allow a sense of freedom; no enemies, lots of fruit.

    Marple is just fantastic. I've done about 5000 puzzles since I got it and while I can do most in under three minutes, there's one puzzle in every 15 or 20 that stops me cold and makes me reason through every single clue, which is great.

    PuzzleManiak is probably one of my favorite purchases, hands down. I've said it on about half my posts on TA, but randomly-generated problems are just sublime for puzzle games. They ensure infinite replayability. I just have issues with the difficulty levels for some of the puzzles. Rectangles and Bridges are laughably easy on the hardest setting, and Untangle is impossibly hard. I can do Slant on the biggest board on the "easy" setting, but the "hard" setting is tough, tough stuff. I actually took screens of the solutions to problems to try and discern patterns, and I've only found one or two in addition to the few listed on its Wiki Page. Galaxies on the hardest setting is perfect for me, because I love how the game is structured; when a mirror image is generated, the box is highlighted, which makes the spacial reasoning much nicer.

    Masyu is fun times for sure, but aside from the free version, I'm not willing to shell out money for only 60 puzzles. If someone made a randomly-generated version of this, I would spend up to $8 on it for sure.

    I haven't much liked the word games yet, including Imangi and WordUp. I was never really a Scrabble kinda guy anyways. I do like the "Lingo"-inspired WordFreak, though.

    Stroll Garden is good, but the average difficulty is too easy and the hardest is rough.

    Most of the others I've bought and played (Hanoi, Loopy Lab, etc) are either too easy or not worth my time.
     

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