I’m a big fan of puzzle games, especially ones that don’t have a time element involved. (Or preferably don’t require excellent twitch reflexes and small muscle coordination. Glyder is about the fastest-paced game I can handle. I have this neck injury, see . . .) I’ve spent hours playing everything from Scrabble to Myst to Bejeweled. So when Onmsoft came out with a new puzzle game that didn’t have a time element–or at least let you choose a non-time-element option–I wanted to check it out.
The first thing I noticed was that this game is a puzzle in two different ways. The first puzzle, of course, is given right in the instructions: Make sets of three or more. But the bigger puzzle is, what else? Vertical and horizontal? Can you “turn corners”? How do you get to the next level? See, here’s the entire instruction screen:
Seems straighforward. Then you start the game:
Now it’s a little trickier. How do you make the squares move? How do get them to line up? What’s up with that “2000″ in the upper right-hand corner? Do you start with that, and then have fill up the whole screen with “sets of three or more”, and you get deducted for getting immovable ones or something? How do you “finish” the level? It’s a mystery!
I’m not going to answer any of those questions for you, because they feel “spoiler-ee” to me. Personally, I loved that I had to puzzle all this out before I could have a chance of winning. It wasn’t really hard to figure it out, but it added some spice to the first few levels that I quite enjoyed. But if you don’t like that kind of thing, you should probably give it a pass.
Moving on, the further up in levels you go, the more squares are “pre-placed” on the board, requiring you to do a lot of good deductive work before placing the first square. Place the wrong initial square on level 8, and you’re hosed. Place the right one, and you have plenty of room to maneuver.
There are a couple of other options in this game that make it a good one for the traveling nerd. First, it’s one of those (growing number of) games that lets you listen to your tunes while you play, rather than over-riding your Jeff Beck or Robert Fripp or whatever with insipid game music. Second, the game performs an auto-save when you receive a call, so when Mom calls you’re not forced to start at the beginning like in some games. I found both these features to be a good idea. (I like to have a few games available when I call places like, oh, the DMV, or TXDOT, or credit card companies, or banks, or telephone support lines, or . . .)
My only real problem with this game–because I really enjoyed it–is that once you hit Level 10 in “Arcade” mode, you’re done. There’s no where to go, except to wait for the update or something. That’s a drag, because I finished the first 10 levels in, like, a few days, and now the game is kind of useless to me. But maybe starting over again from scratch works for you–after all, lots of people still play Tetris, right?
So overall, this game is definitely worth a buck, as far as I’m concerned. Download and enjoy!
MSRP: $0.99 from the iTunes App store
What I liked: Gameplay; having to work out how to win; pause and iPod options
What needs improvement: more levels; I ran through all 10 in just a few days. Now I grant you they were travel days and Super Bowl Sunday, but still.