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Monday, October 20, 2014

LInes War: free puzzle app game for iphone, ipad

iPhone Screenshot 1                iPhone Screenshot 2
Lines War is a puzzle app game that we've seen before. But not recently. The object is to quickly draw lines to seal off  the grid from the bouncing ball. Once you wall off 75%, you're done!  Level 2 has two bouncing balls - much tougher.  I don't have the patience for that. But it's fun!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Nexionode Lite: free puzzle app game for iphone, ipad

iPhone Screenshot 5     iPhone Screenshot 2
Dylan from Big Round Eyes recently contacted me about a puzzle app game of his called Nexionode.
Your task is to turn the orange lights blue by making contact with another node. Essentially, it's a topology game. Knowing where to start and where to end is key.

At the beginning, all the circles have orange lights. You must change them to blue by connecting them to another circle.

At first, I thought to myself: just another topology game. However, These can be really challenging. For one thing, there are gray squares that act as obstacles.  Later on, the tiles are in perpetual motion and everything must be connected before intersections take place.  For those levels 3 things must happen: first solve the puzzle in the normal way (only in your head), strategize how to do, then do it lightning quick.

I have not solved all of the levels. I'm not sure how many levels because of the way they're laid out. I'm guessing maybe 125 levels. I was challenged and I had fun; that's the bottom line right? (Notice I used a colon there?)

Behind the puzzles, there is a science fiction story, but I didn't pay attention to it. If you've been following this blog, you know that I always turn off the music & sound effects - to preserve the battery.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Dots Color Match - Tap & Connect Puzzle Game

iPhone Screenshot 2                       iPhone Screenshot 4
Alan Kong  has come up with an interesting test-your-reflexes game.  As the colored balls fall from the top, you must rotate your polygon by tapping and catch the red balls with the red side etc.

It's a good game. But the speed picks up too quickly for me.  In any case, it's another good game/exercise to ward off Alzheimer's.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Games Magazine Story

In 2002, I hosted the first New York Puzzle Party. One of the attendees was Robin King. I had actually met Robin a year or two before, very briefly, at the New York Toy Fair.  The company that produces the card game SET, had a competition. Using their computer, how many sets could you find in 1 minute. I was in the lead. They told me to come back at 3:00 to claim my prize. So I did. I think I won a brand new deck of SET.  5 minutes later, Robin shows up and beats my record. But it was after 3:00. I saw her name on the badge and was very impressed with the company she worked for: Games Magazine.

After the NYPP in 2002, Robin invited me to play test some games with her husband John McCallion.  On the way there, I thought to myself: my sisters are going to be so envious because I'm entering the Games Magazine office to play test. In fact, we met at the Manhattan Fire Safety office on 32nd street. This, I learned, was John's real job. It's really one of the most boring offices I've ever seen. 20 desks with telephones. Everybody's job: to sell fire extinguishers. I never actually saw anybody except John & Robin in the office, since I would always arrive at 6:00.

Over the next 10 years I would play test with John & Robin, usually on a Wednesday night. Typically, we would play 3 games for about 2 hours. All sorts of games: card games, board games, games with a thousand rules. John would always read the rules. About 90% of the time, Robin would win. During the night, John would lose his temper at me, or at Robin  or another play tester because we had forgotten an obscure rule. It was always amusing to me to see him so frustrated and him cursing - in a genteel way! - with his Irish accent.

I never met the man who owned/ran Manhattan Fire Safety, but I noticed that he left sarcastic memos around the office.

On and off I would tell John & Robin that they should write more about mechanical puzzles. One day, Robin suggested to me that I give it a shot. My first article for Games Magazine appeared in the February 2006 issues. 6 pages called The Puzzling World of Oskar van Deventer. I was off and running and gave myself the title Mechanical Puzzle Correspondent. I wrote 27 articles.

But it's all come to an end. Last year, around Thanksgiving, Robin passed away during a lung transplant. I knew she had been in the hospital for months, and felt guilty about not visiting her. Then I saw John on the 7 train. He told me that she had gotten the transplant and it was a success. According to the hospital officials.  He was overjoyed. Unfortunately, it was not a success and Robin passed away several days later.

My editor at Games Magazine, Wayne Schmittberger, was recently fired. The entire magazine has been downsized. It may even stop publishing. John has quit. What I've learned is that when things fall apart, they do so very rapidly.

Below are some links from Drew Davidson. I play tested with John & Robin and a bunch of others. I don't think I met Drew.  Perhaps I have. Robin & John always had a thank-you dinner at an Indian restaurant at the end of the year for all the play testers.  Drew's 3 part story is better written and more comprehensive than mine.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Color Shape Tile Puzzle: free puzzle app game for iphone, ipad

iPhone Screenshot 2              iPhone Screenshot 1
Nick Waters has produced a solid puzzle app game called Color Shape Tile Puzzle. The object is to place all the tiles onto the grid by following the rules from the first image. Essentially, either color matches or the shape matches.  It's an interesting variation on the traditional edge-matching tile puzzles. (I have a friend who regularly attends the International Puzzle Party; he has an enormous collection of edge-matching puzzles.)

There are 4 levels of difficulty. The easiest uses a 4x4 grid, while the hardest uses a 7x7 grid. I've solved puzzles at each difficulty level.

The puzzles seem to be randomly generated each time. Which is good and bad. Good, if you want to keep playing this game forever. Bad, if you're the type that wants a set of 50 or 100 levels and solve them all with a sense of accomplishment.

I like this concept. However, there are multiple solutions, which make the expert levels not that hard.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

BitLogic: puzzle app game for iphone, ipad

iPhone Screenshot 1                  iPhone Screenshot 2
I was very curious to see a puzzle app game that involved Bit Coins. Unfortunately, BitLogic will teach you nothing at all about it.

BitLogic is a clone of 2048, which is a clone of Threes!, which I've played extensively. The main problem with BitLogic is that it's impossible to memorize the sequence of merging. The lowest coin is the golden one and 2 of them merge into 1 of the blue ones.

It would be handy to have that merging guide of all 12 coins on the same screen. is the home company and after watching their video of what they do, I still have no idea what they do. Must delete this immediately.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Dozen! - free puzzle app game for iphone, ipad

iPhone Screenshot 2               iPhone Screenshot 3
Roy Hamm recently contacted me about his puzzle app game: Dozen!  It's a game to test your reflexes/speed.Read the instructions of the 3 images in order to get the rules/objectives.  It's another good, fun game that may help ward off Alzheimer's. We should all be playing these types of games.

iPhone Screenshot 4

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Dung Rings: free puzzle app game for iphone, ipad

iPhone Screenshot 1  iPhone Screenshot 3

Dung Rings is a free puzzle app game that's pretty much the same as the Hungarian Rings - a mechanical puzzle from about 25 years ago. In 2000, Rubik came out with his own version called Rubik's Rings.

The object is to scramble the pieces and then restore the pattern. Getting the outer rings is fairly easy. It's where the circles intersect that gets tough.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Points - Catch The Balls free puzzle app game for iphone, ipad

iPhone Screenshot 1  iPhone Screenshot 2  iPhone Screenshot 3

Yasarcan Kasal has created a game to test your reflexes.  Balls drop from the top and you must tap the screen to rotate your polygon so the colors match. 

I like that the game starts with just 2 colors. But, too quickly, it changes to 3 and then 4 colors, which is just a bit too fast for me. 

This is a good game to ward off Alzheimer's. Keep your brain sharp!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Exit the Tunnels - An Army Puzzle: free puzzle app game for iphone, ipad

iPhone Screenshot 1  iPhone Screenshot 4

Galia Aviram has created a maze puzzle app game that requires you to navigate the drone soldier to the enemy's ammunition hideout.  Seems kind of easy, but these are pretty tough.

Doors open only 1 way. There's a lot of backtracking.  See the yellow keys in the second image? Passing over 1 of them will open a specific door someplace else.

There are only 25 levels and I've solved 9 of them. These are really good puzzles. However, there are too many ads and the graphics could be so much better. Also, we've seen this type of maze/door puzzle before. I'm not sure if these puzzle levels are original. But they are challenging and solving 25 is plenty.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Pop The Cube: free arcade game for ipad, iphone

iPhone Screenshot 1                          iPhone Screenshot 5
Dror Zalman recently contacted me about his game Pop The Cube. The objective is to score points and solve each level by firing colored blocks, from the gray squares at the bottom, at the colored squares that travel horizontally across the screen. If your block missile can hit the target at the same spot as one of the fixed colored squares on the board, Pop!  Once they are all popped, you can move on to the next level.

I did the first 3 levels. There is some potential for this type of game. It's a bit slow. The graphics are old school. Strictly for kids.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Light 'em Up: free puzzle app game for iphone, ipad

iPhone Screenshot 1               iPhone Screenshot 4
David Allan recently contacted me about his puzzle app game Light 'em Up: Only Smart Players Can Win. As you can see from the images, you must rotate the pipes in order to bring the electricity to the light bulbs.  I raced through the first 20 puzzle levels in about 10 minutes then got stuck on 21. Why? Because there's a time limit and it's impossible to tap/rotate the tiles in the time allotted. I did send David an email about this, but got no response.

I'm not a big fan of the pipe rotating genre. One very interesting exception is Amid Worlds. Although technically it's more of a laser puzzle.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Big news today from Oskar van Deventer

Shapeways has just announced that their pricing model will be more cost
oriented. This means a huge price increase by a factor 3 or more for twisty
puzzles. Apparently, the handling cost of those many tiny pieces is much
more than what Shapeways has been charging. Unfortunately, this
cross-subsidizing by other Shapeways models is coming to an end. The price
increase will come in effect on Tuesday 7 October, i.e. next week.

You can read more here.

So for those of you interested in twisty puzzles, this may be the moment to
start shopping at
You can buy the parts from Shapeways directly. I would be happy to provide
you with assembled and stickered sample(s) of my puzzles. However, the
current price would only apply if I would receive your order before the end
of this weekend, so I can order parts at their current price.

I apologize for jumping this news onto you like this. I wish it were better
news. Prices are supposed to go down, not up. The fact that not any of
Shapeways could even get near to their prices should have been a clue.

Best regards,


Monday, September 29, 2014

Circle Square Triangle: free puzzle app game for iphone, ipad

iPhone Screenshot 1
Circle Square Triangle is an interesting puzzle app game good for students of geometry & draftsmen. At the top of the screen is the 3 dimensional object. It rotates slowly. Your task is to identify which of the 25 choices matches it exactly. When you swipe the screen to the right, all 25 images will shift.
There is a time element. How many can you solve in 60 seconds?

Friday, September 26, 2014

Mergect: free puzzle app game for iphone, ipad

iPhone スクリーンショット 1  iPhone スクリーンショット 2

Takafumi Yamamoto has created an interesting puzzle app game called Mergect. I'm assuming the word is a combination of merge and intersect.

Look at the first image. The blue and red squares are dancing around the grid. You must tap some of the white squares to make them black so that hopefully the red & blue squares will merge/intersect in the purple square at the same time.

See the white squares with X's? Those squares cannot be turned black because they are next to a red or blue square. When they pass along further along, the X will disappear.

Look at the second image. You'll notice that the red & yellow squares cannot get to the orange square. You will have to turn the black squares back into white squares.
iPhone スクリーンショット 3                  iPhone スクリーンショット 4                     iPhone スクリーンショット 5

Look at the third image.  See the white squares with 4 dots? They can never be turned black. The fourth image shows 2 objectives.  The fifth image shows a square with a diagonal. The two colored squares must not merge into that cell.

Bottom Line: I was expecting to dislike Mergect. But I kept playing it. There are 50 levels and I've solved the first 48. I've given up on the last two. Way too hard. In fact, I'm even surprised that I solved some of the other levels!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Buttons & Scissors: free puzzle app game for iphone, ipad

iPhone Screenshot 1       iPhone Screenshot 2
A friend recently told me about Buttons & Scissors - another fine puzzle app game.
The object is to swipe groups of buttons - of the same color - and cut them off until there are no more buttons on the screen.
This concept is  not exactly new. But strangely, I can't name another puzzle app that's exactly the same. BoxOff is similar and definitely more sophisticated.
iPhone Screenshot 3      iPhone Screenshot 4
The 5x5 levels of Buttons & Scissors were helpful for me to start on because I figured out what not to do. The 6x6's are not much harder.  The 7x7's are pretty tough. Fortunately, there's a good undo button that allows you to undo as many times as you want. 'More than 1000 levels!' I actually think that's a bad thing. Better to give us anywhere between 50 & 150 levels.
I have to admit, I really love the graphics. If you know the solution, you can get or 6 pairs of scissors moving across the board at the same time. But you have to be fast.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Cubical: free arcade puzzle game for iphone, ipad

iPhone Screenshot 2
The object in Cubical it to score points by tapping all the squares of the same color before time runs out. The squares keep changing colors so it's a bit frantic. Definitely good for kids, but all adults should engage in these types of games now and then. At least to ward off Alzheimer's.

Swipe the Arrows: free arcade game for iphone, ipad

iPhone Screenshot 1   iPhone Screenshot 2
There isn't much to say since the first 2 images describe everything. Swipe the Arrows is fun enough for maybe 10 minutes. Challenge your buddy. Or play the game to ward off Alzheimer's.
There was another game that I played & reviewed that was very similar.
iPhone Screenshot 3

Friday, September 19, 2014

Photon Lab: free puzzle app game for iphone, ipad

 iPhone Screenshot 4             iPhone Screenshot 2
Photon Lab comes from Jonathan Kinnersley. It's been sitting on my ipad for a long time now. As you can see from the images, it's a laser puzzle app game that requires you to shoot beams of light - in this case - photons, and get them to their target.
We've seen numerous laser puzzles over the years. And I'm sure we'll see many more.
What's different about Photon Lab: when you place the mirrors and press FIRE, not only must you reach the targets, you must also make sure that each square gets illuminated.
The puzzles themselves are very good.  Here are my qualms: first, there are 480 levels. As I've said numerous times before: the ideal number should be between 50 & 150.
Also, the graphics are annoying. As you fire your lasers, they leave bubble trails behind. If your solution does not work, the bubble trails are still there. Supremely annoying.
I have not solved many of the levels, but I did do the hardest #114, which is the first image.
Let's talk about the Leaderboard. There are over 3000 people playing the game. However, the game's been out for a few months now. Yesterday only 8 people were playing it.
(When Apple came out with ipads 1 & 2, you could check your score with who's playing today, or this week or forever. When Apple upgraded their software, they removed the feature of tracking who and how many people are playing today & this week, strangely. I have two ipad 2s. One of them has the latest software, the other has the old software. One of the reasons I'm not upgrading the software is because I track the popularity of these puzzle app games.)
Bottom Line: I do like Photon Lab. Definitely good for young puzzlers.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Tapes - update

Yohei Sato contacted me  2 days ago with the exciting news that there are 36 new levels of his puzzle app game Tapes. I dropped everything to solve them. I got stuck on a few levels and thought that they were impossible. But I prevailed. Such a good game!

Read my original review from last month:

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Rainbow Reef: free puzzle app game for ipad, iphone

iPhone Screenshot 3iPhone Screenshot 1
Rainbow Reef has is an easy puzzle app game to overlook.  The icon for the game on the app store is a big smiling yellow fish. So it appears to be a game for little kids. I was very hesitant to even download it.
Rainbow Reef is actually a point scoring puzzle app. The object is to swipe/direct the swimming sea creatures to the matching colored circles.  See the green seaweed? Those are blocks - fish can't swim through them.
The game ends, for example, when a red fish goes into a yellow circle.
Rainbow Reef starts the game easy. After 5 or 6 levels, they start to get tough.
The author is Jacqueline Hudepohl and it's nice to see puzzle app games from women. I think kids would like this.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Trebene: free puzzle app for ipad only

iPhone Screenshot 1      iPhone Screenshot 2
Not too long ago I reviewed a terrific puzzle app game called Stroke!  Ryo Takanezawa has created some other puzzle apps so I decided to check them out.
Trebene seems kind of easy but is trickier than it appears. Your objective is to score points by grouping 3 or more similar colors in a group. New tiles slide in a la 2048 and/or Threes!
If the board fills up completely, game over. Here's what's interesting: if you empty the board completely, your game ends. Which means that playing perfectly will yield a low score.
Practically nobody is playing Trebene, even though it's free. There are maybe 15 players on the Leaderboard.
Trebene is definitely worth 20 minutes of your time.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Light Weaving: puzzle app game for iphone, ipad

iPhone Screenshot 1  iPhone Screenshot 2
Dapeng Liu has created an interesting puzzle app game called Light Weaving. I meant to post a review of this game - months ago! But, as most of you know, there is a constant avalanche of new puzzle apps that have me a bit disorganized.
The object is to get a closed loop for each colored light. This is done, at the early levels, by rotating individual pieces.  Look at the second image. To get the blue light you'll have to rotate the corner piece, the pipe above it and the terminus.
iPhone Screenshot 3               iPhone Screenshot 4
In the harder levels, tiles can swap positions. In the third image, can you can see the arrows under the purple/orange tile? Tap on that tile: the piece above it will swap with the one below it. Same effect for the tiles to the right and left of it. The third image is from a complex level because in that case, the arrow tiles themselves can swap locations. Very complicated.
The 4th image shows gears - meaning that you if you rotate one, they all rotate. Think about this: what if you want just some of them to rotate, not all?
The 'mirror' tile (not shown in any of these images) will reflect the image of a neighboring tile.
There are 100 levels of Light Weaving.
I stopped at level 73. And just for good measure, and some fun, completed all 100 in the last couple of days. Surprisingly, the last 10 are kind of easy.
 There's a lot of fiddling with this game. To get 3 stars - you must concentrate.
We've seen this type of puzzle before - but just at the basic levels. Dapeng has really made some great innovations here.