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Friday, December 6, 2019

Embergram by the Gillespie Brothers FREE

Embergram comes from Matthew, Bryan and Jacob Gillespie.  Their game is very very similar to Thermometer puzzles.  (More Thermometer Puzzles).
The object is to burn the matches so that the number of embers in each row/column matches the numbers on the sides.

Each section has relatively easy levels with straight matches only.  As the matches get curvy, they get more interesting.

What could be better: there should be an element that marks squares that cannot be burnt!

There are 12 levels for each grid size: 4x4 to 12x12.  I've spent a lot of time on this game.  The 12x12 levels take about 20 minutes.

Gillespie clan: you guys rocked this.
Developer website:

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Sudoku Octangles: Numbers Game by Amr Hassan FREE

Sudoku Octangles: Numbers Game comes from Amr Hassan.  The object is to place the numbers in the spaces to form a Latin Square (very similar to sudoku).
There are two game: Sum and multiplication.  The little numbers in the grid are either the sum of the surrounding 4 numbers or the product.

The grid sizes go from 3x3 to 9x9.

According to the Leaderboard......practically nobody has played this game.  I think it's pretty good.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Chromoblox by Dan Bravender FREE

Chromoblox comes from Dan Bravender. This game is very similar to the card game SET. The object is to clear the board by selecting 3 tiles that are all different or are all the same.

Important: the selected pieces can only come from the bottom of the columns.

Look at the first image. Legal move: the green heart from bottom of column 1, then the blue triangle from column 1, then the red circle from column 5.

I don't know how many levels there are.  I'm guessing I've done about 25.

Monday, December 2, 2019

Thinking Putty Puzzles from ThinkFun

 Thinking Putty Puzzles is a finalist for Toy of the Year Award in the Specialty Category.
 ThinkFun is one of the best puzzle companies in the world.  I was asked to create the challenge puzzles for their new game Thinking Putty Puzzles.  The concept is easy: connect the two yellow points, and the two blue points, etc, without crossing lines. Previously, I made similar puzzles for under the titles Lab Mice Puzzles and Find Your Way Gnome.
 However, in this version, there are bridges, which allow for some crossing of lines.
When's the last time you played with putty?  The putty was re-invented by Crazy Aaron.
Reasons to buy:
1. It's fun.
2. Makes for a great gift for nieces/nephews/grandkids.
3. My royalty checks will increase with your purchase.

Amazon: buy it here and/or read customer reviews

Rave Reviews
Best New Games 2019

Casual Game Revolution

Puzzlenation Review

Parenting Progress Review

Gifts and Decorative Accessories Review

Mom Does Reviews

Fatherly Review


Michigan Saving

Kristin McGee

I4U News

The Toy Insider

Today Show

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

The Halloween Cryptical Puzzle by Calum Davidson FREE

 The Halloween Cryptical Puzzle comes from Calum Davidson. The object is slide the red and green tiles to free the key.  When the key gets to the slot, you win a gold coin.
There are 13 levels and I've solved 4 of them.  I really like this puzzle.  It would make for a great cylindrical version of Rush Hour.   Hey Calum: really good job. 

Read this article about Calum.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

A Long Time by COTTONGAME $.99

 A Long Time come from COTTONGAME Network Technology Co., Ltd. They made Isoland which I reviewed earlier this year. 
Their new game is similar to Blockwick, which I reviewed back in 2013.
The object is to shift the rectangular shapes to create a path for the ribbon to go from left to right.

There is a story behind it: a puppet who is in love.  It's very poetic & philisophical. Probably all lost on me.  There are 30 levels, so it's a short game.

Monday, November 18, 2019

SquareShift by Will Hain FREE

SquareShift comes from Will Hain.  The object is to rotate groups of squares of 2x2 tiles to eventually transfer the blue squares into the glowing blue targets.

There are 60 levels.

The first 15 levels - straight forward.
The next 15 levels - some squares are locked in place and cannot be rotated.
The next 15 levels - some squares have #s which indicate the maximum number of times that square can be rotated.  These are challenging.

Friday, November 15, 2019

NABOKI by Maciej Targoni $.99

NABOKI comes from Maciej Targoni.  I'm a longtime fan of Maciej. Scroll to the bottom to see my reviews of his other games.
 Maciej is one of those handful of Puzzle App Designers who specialize in 'minimalist' games.  I've never seen an actual definition of this term as it relates to puzzle apps. Essentially: the game does not explain the rules or mechanics. It's all intuitive. (Michal Pawlowski is another prominent minimalist puzzle designer.)
 NABOKI is a series of 3D jigsaw puzzles that must be taken apart in the correct sequence.
 here are many elements that must be mastered and toyed with. What's most impressive is the ability to rotate the entire figure. Simply put, the graphics are outstanding.
I'm not sure how many levels there are. I did struggle on some.  I'm guessing it took about 1.5-2 hours to complete.  Perfect game to play when you're talking to somebody on the phone.

Other games from Maciej that you must download.
Up Left Out

Thursday, November 14, 2019

MeiLong Polaris Cube $14.00

MeiLong Polaris Cube StickerlessMeiLong Polaris Cube Stickerless
The MeiLong Polaris Cube is a variation on the old and famous Skewb Puzzle.

In order to turn the cube, all the corners need to be rotated 120 degrees.  This will then align the axes and the puzzle will then turn like a skewb
I've solved this puzzle 3 times so far.  I bought my first Skewb around 1995.  It's one of the easiest twisty puzzles to solve.  I made up my own algorithms to discover which ones were useful.

I'm using those same algorithms on this puzzle. But this one has those little pieces which make it interesting.

The quality of the manufacturing is stellar.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Merge Green Squares by ying zhou FREE

Merge Green Squares comes from ying zhou. The object is to merge the green cubes without crashing into the white dots.
What I particularly like about this game is that there are only 15 levels.  The last 3 or 4 levels are pretty good.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Sometimes You Die by Philipp Stollenmayer

Sometimes You Die comes from Philipp Stollenmayer. I'm a big fan of his games.  (Scroll to the bottom to see some of my other reviews of his games.)
In Sometimes You Die, you will have to die multiple times in order to succeed.  I won't spoil the fun.

Look at the last 2 images.  The 685....I think it means that I'm the 685th person to solve the whole set. (Update 11/13/2019: Philipp just informed me that the 685 indicates how many times I died! It's funny and mortifying at the same time.)

According to Philip's description, there are 80 + levels.  They go pretty fast.  And then you get stuck and give up....until you keep trying.

He also mentions that there are 'hidden' levels.  I have no idea if I got to them.  How would I know?

In a game, you die.
And imply that it has no effect on you.
You feel invincible in the realm behind the screen.

This one is different.
In this game, you have to die.

∙ ∙ ∙ ∙ ∙ ∙ ∙ ∙ ∙ ∙ ∙ ∙ ∙ ∙ ∙ ∙ ∙ ∙ ∙ ∙ ∙ ∙ ∙ ∙ ∙ ∙ ∙ ∙ ∙ ∙ ∙ ∙ ∙ G A M E ∙ ∙ ∙
What is your motivation?
What do you expect from this game?
Do you want to beat it?
How do you know it can be beaten?

This game plays with expectation, illusion, and reality.

∙ ∙ ∙ ∙ ∙ ∙ ∙ ∙ ∙ ∙ ∙ ∙ ∙ ∙ ∙ ∙ ∙ ∙ ∙ ∙ ∙ ∙ ∙ ∙ ∙ ∙ ∙ ∙ ∙ P U Z Z L E S ∙ ∙ ∙
Think before you act.
Who knows what it means to die behind the screen?
Is it only a number that goes up?
Pixels that change their intensity?

Solve disturbing, surprising, and malicious puzzles.

∙ ∙ ∙ ∙ ∙ ∙ ∙ ∙ ∙ ∙ ∙ ∙ ∙ ∙ ∙ ∙ ∙ ∙ ∙ ∙ ∙ ∙ ∙ ∙ ∙ ∙ ∙ ∙ ∙ ∙ ∙ ∙ D E A T H ∙ ∙ ∙
Is it possible to go through the game
without dying even once?
Will you aim for it?

∙ ∙ ∙ ∙ ∙ ∙ ∙ ∙ ∙ ∙ ∙ ∙ ∙ ∙ ∙ ∙ ∙ ∙ ∙ ∙ ∙ ∙ ∙ ∙ ∙ D I F F I C U L T Y ∙ ∙ ∙
Some think the game is easy.
I think,
those haven't discovered the hidden levels yet.
80+ levels.
Hidden content.
Wow factor.
Epilepsy warning: One level includes fast flashing lights.

Some of Philipp's other games

Monday, November 11, 2019

Sausage Adventures by Ece Cansu Guler FREE

Sausage Adventures comes from Ece Cansu Guler.  The object is to drag the sausage onto the bun perfectly.  The bun comes in many twisted shapes.

I did 75 levels very quickly.  No idea how many levels actually exist.  This game is way too easy for me.  Good for young puzzlers.

Very Bad: some levels are repeated again and again.

Deleting this now.

Friday, October 25, 2019

One Line Weekly by Marcelo Pars FREE

 Marcelo Pars recently contacted me about his new puzzle game One Line Weekly

I'm a big fan of Marcelo's puzzles. See my reviews of his other games below.

The objective of One Line Weekly is to tap on the line segments to make one very long connection.

When I opened the app on my ipad, I was floored.  GIGANTIC AND OVERWHELMING. It's also very hard.  I've tried at least 5 times.....I had to give up.  It's just too big.

But you should definitely download this and see for yourself.  Most importantly, if you do solve 1 level, take a screen shot and send it to me. 

Interesting review and response from the App Store:


Pointless and not fun

Where is the fun? And why does this start with one huge giant puzzle? Where is the slow ramp up in difficulty? No thanks.

Developer Response,

Thanks ToxicCheese. I can see your point but maybe I can explain my motivation for making this game. It was my wife's "longing" for the Sudoku in the Saturday newspaper. She can't wait for this difficult but sober puzzle moment. I also wanted to make a sober puzzle game (no color, no sound, no ads, no in-app-purchase) with a constant level of difficulty a puzzler can count on.
I'm taking a risk now, but I also made other games like this one (Loop Loop and Cage It!) which have the ramp up in difficulty you asked for. They also have color and a little music, so they are more in style with a "traditional" app. Maybe you can appreciate these games a little more than this one.

My own note to Marcelo:
All artists and puzzlers need to explore the boundaries of convention. I think your game will not succeed in popularity (like the vast majority of puzzle apps, sadly), but that's okay. You made something that is appreciated.  Like a Rubik's Cube with 33 x 33 x 33 dimensions.  Technically, not much harder than a 4 x 4 x 4, but a hell of a lot longer to solve.  Bravo for making this.

Marcelo's other games
Save Planet Cube
Cube Loop
Cubicks Free
Cage It
Loop Loop

Friday, October 11, 2019

Stack Me Challenge by eDoc LLC FREE

Stack Me Challenge comes from eDoc LLC.  It's a point scoring game.  The object is to slide all the tiles up/down/right/left and not fill up the board.

In the beginner mode, only primary colors are used.

In the advanced mode, primary colors merge, and points are awarded for only secondary colors combining.  

In the beginner mode, I had to intentionally lose.

In the advanced mode, I'm in the middle of 1 game.  My score is 1800. I would be #2 on the leaderboard, but I think I have to lose for that to show up.

This is an interesting game. However, the game is unending.  Multiple times I made a silly mistake and easily recovered. 

The #1 score is over 6000, which I'm estimating took at least 5 hours to play.

Monday, October 7, 2019

Drop Drop! S by Adem KAYIRCI FREE

Drop Drop! S comes from Adem KAYIRCI.  It's a point scoring game.
The object is to drag the 3 pieces onto the board to match colors and score points.  The pieces fall upwards from the bottom.  Each match yields points, the tiles disappear and you're ready for the next round.

Adem is definitely one of the more interesting puzzle app developers who is still going strong.  I particularly liked his game cohex (see link below).

Adem's other puzzles
maze cube
block dock!

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Sixy Sudoku by FREE

Sixy Sudoku comes from Peter Ritmeester at  I know what you're thinking: Not another Sudoku variation!

This version has a lot of charm, because the grids are so small.

Also, I really like the element where each shaded region must contain 1-6.

There's a 'wacky' version which is similar to 'jigsaw sudoku' and is also known as 'squiggly sudoku'.

Best of all: each version has difficulty levels ranging from very easy to very hard.

There are 500 levels, but there is no system of checking off which ones you've done.

I've bought 3 of the puzzle books at Peter's website.  I've shared some of the puzzles with my math students.

Nice job Peter!

Update 10/7/2019: Peter informed me that there is an update to the game that includes level progress.

Monday, September 23, 2019

Hanoi Stack by Sergii Nagin FREE

Hanoi Stack comes from Sergii Nagin. Th object is to flip rings and stacks of rings to eventually land on the pole is size order - largest on the bottom.
I did the first 25 levels in about 15 minutes.  They start getting interesting around level 50, as more rings are added to the grid.

1. Multiple rings of the same size are frequent.
2. When a stack joins another ring, it will invert completely.  Look at the last image. The green ring on top - that whole stack will flip onto the light blue ring.  That will leave the red, largest ring, on top. 

I have no idea how many levels there are.  I've done about 120.  The last 25 took about 20 minutes.

Friday, September 20, 2019

Rope Rescue! - Unique Puzzle by Coda Platform Limited

Rope Rescue! - Unique Puzzle comes from Coda Platform Limited.  The object is to get Your People from the top to the bottom safely while avoiding the red wheels and the lasers and various other obstacles.
This game came out in July and has 39,000 reviews.

This puzzle play pretty fast. I've solved about 90 levels over 2 days.  No idea how many levels there are. 

Important: you must turn off your wifi or you'll be bombarded with ads.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Sandwich Sudoku by Nick Carney $4.99

Sandwich Sudoku comes from Nick Carney. This game was popularized in the spring by Alex Bellos via his puzzle column in The Guardian. 

It's a standard sudoku with one significant difference: the numbers above the grid, and to the side of the grid, are the sums of the numbers that separate the 1 and the 9 in that column or row.

Puzzlers who have played Killer Sudoku (see link below) and Kakuro should be able to jump right in.

The game has only 40 levels, but that's okay! These games have been taking me a long time to solve.  At the moment I've solved 13 levels totaling about 6 hours of fun.  By that measure, $5 is cheap.

This game is fantastic.

My Solving Times
Level   Time
1          14:07
2          31:04
3          26:32
4          26:05
5          11:40
6          44:40
7          23:07
10        26:50
11        31:23
13        28:44
14        23:36
16        21:50
17        24:22

Other Innovative Sudoku Puzzle Apps
Kropk'i Sudoku  This is really a Latin Square with a couple of innovative ideas. It plays fast.
Quindoku Same as Logi5Puzz
Logi5Puzz  Same as NumDom. But NumDom has larger grid sizes.
Spindoku is totally different, but still very cool.
Hi-Lo Sudoku is one of my favorite variations.
Cryptdoku I played it so long ago, but it's cool. Long gone from the App Store.
Stimko Gold - outstanding version of squiggly Sudoku.  Handcrafted puzzles.
Kakooma - interesting for about 3 levels
RollDoku - never even solved 1 level, so hard
Cohabit- played this on my ipod touch - before ipad was invented
FlowDoKu - one of my favorites. Will not delete this.
Sudoku Mine combines Sudoku with Minesweeper
Sudoku Killer  combines Sudoku with Kakuro. I've spent a lot of time on this one. I can do the easy levels in about 10 minutes.
3Doku - a cubic version of Sudoku
Pokergreen Puzzles - a poker version of Sudoku
Star Sudoku
Sudoku Maze
Sudoku Spin
Sudoku Sweeper
Joint Number Place