I like puzzle games quite a bit. I travel a lot, and so even though I enjoy things like Dark Nebula, Earthworm Jim (yay!), and Cro-Mag Rally, puzzle games like or or Bookworm or Glyph are better for me, as they are easy to stop in the middle, the time pressure isn’t a big issue, and I don’t have to worry about being jostled or hitting air-pockets and losing a life as a result. Thumb-twitch games are tough on the heavy traveler. So I’m big on puzzle games. (Also card games, but that’s another review.)
With that in mind, I tested out Handy Games. And if ever there was a game I had severely mixed feelings about, it’s this one. And not because of the game itself, really–well, I’ll tell you all about it., a new game by the folks at
First, the good. I like the game’s look and feel; the graphics are not spectacular, but are well-rendered and reliable–you don’t get block pixels or visual glitches or any of that other annoying hoo-haw. “Solid” is the best word to describe it, and I mean that in a good, rather than stodgy way.
The colors and textures are good but not gaudy. The interface is simple and easy to understand. Like I say; solid in the positive way.
There are a lot of puzzles–over 300, according to the Handy Games folks. The puzzles start with the fairly simple, to give you a chance to learn the “tricks,” and then become more and more complex. It will definitely keep you occupied for a while.
One of the things that I like best is, when you start the game, you are asked immediately if you want the sound on.
I play games on the plane, in waiting areas, at home laying in bed next to my sweet Sami, and all kinds of other places where the sound would be a distraction to others, and I don’t like wearing the ear-buds. So this is a nice feature for me.
So overall, it’s pretty good for a puzzle game. No story line, and a fairly simple progression (no hidden levels or minibosses or things of that nature), but plenty of puzzles to keep you occupied. In that way, it is kind of like Sudoku, as the makers suggest.
Now, the not so good. When you first fire it up, you are required to run through the tutorial, and are required to create a “profile” to save your in-progress game. To be frank, I hated that. I like to try games a little bit and flail before I look at tutorials, in order to give me an idea what the heck the tutorial is talking about, you know? Also, you can only go forward in a tutorial; you can’t backtrack and remind yourself about what you just read. And finally, you can’t exit out of the tutorial–it’s all or nothing. Annoying.
(It also ends with the game splash/credits page. Can you tell the whole tutorial thing annoyed the heck out of me?)
And I would much prefer a game that asks you to create a profile when you’re about to quit, or saves the current state automatically and gives you the option to create a profile. But having to create a profile the first time out, no matter what? Kinda irritating.
I also find the lack of a pause icon pretty irritating, especially in a timed game. Some games pause when you tap the screen; some pause when you turn your iPhone off; some have a pause icon (or another icon–like “Menu”–that acts as a pause button). Not in infeCCt, alas–all you can do is go back to the home screen. Further, if you power off–or just let your iPhone power off automatically–the game keeps running; it fails to detect a power-off and continues to add time.
I like that you get the choice to disable the music right away, but I do like music with my games, and unfortunately this music is, well, kind of repetitive and also–let’s be honest here–not very original. The whole game design reminded me quite a bit of Zuma, and when the music came in, it even sounded like Zuma. I know it’s an expensive pain in the butt to get music for your games, but c’mon, Handy Game folks, a little more originality would be nice. Especially at this price.
Which brings us to the really bad: it’s expensive. For an iPhone, application, it’s really expensive, clocking in at $9.99. I don’t know about you, but I hesitate to pay five bucks for an iPhone game; but a whole sawbuck? That seems extreme. And for what you get–a decent puzzle game in 2-D that, yes, has a lot of levels and is a good mix of challenging and easy learning curve–it strikes me as quite a lot.
This is Sky Patrol, which retails at $2.99–very similar to my eye, quality-wise
Comparable games, like Zuma, Sky Patrol, and Bonsai are significantly less expensive. Heck, even quite elaborate games like Myst ($4.99) or Sim City($4.99) or the new Sims 3 ($6.99) are significantly cheaper. Handy Games compares this game to Sodoku; I couldn’t find a Sodoku game that cost more than $2.99. Is this particular game worth the money?
In my book, no. It’s fun, sure, but I’d rather get Sky Patrol, Myst, and a couple of $0.99 games for the same money; then you’ve got a couple of games either just as good or better, and money left over.
The Good: Simple, easy-to-learn gameplay; interesting puzzles; good mix of difficult and not-so-difficult; solid graphics.
The Not-so-good: The price; I mean, yowza! Lack of pause button. Irritating tutorial.