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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Rod Kimball's Path Puzzles

My friend Rod Kimball is a true renaissance man: juggler, musician and serious puzzler. His Path Puzzles are featured in the NY Times:

Read my review of his Path Puzzles app & book:

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Fruit Dating: puzzle app game for iphone, ipad

iPhone Screenshot 1

Tomáš Rychnovský recently contacted me about his puzzle app game: Fruit Dating. It's a tilt/swipe maze. The object is to get the two red fruits next to each other. When that happens, they disappear. Then do the same for the yellow faced fruit.
iPhone Screenshot 3
There's good and bad. Let's start with the negatives. I don't like the graphics. The border is not necessary. The green squares are stationary. What moves during tilts? Cars, barrels and other things, sometimes unidentifiable, at least by me.
Now for the positives. Tomas has added some interesting things. Some levels have arrows on the grid. A fruit can never go against that arrow. Next, most tilt mazes - you know exactly where to get your man. In Fruit Dating, where the pairs match is part of the puzzle. Finally, some of the harder levels have aardvarks that will slurp up the fruit if the fruit rests in it's direction.  Be protective of your fruit! (At first, I thought it was a laser gun to shoot the fruit down.)
Other levels have puddles - cars can go over them, but not fruit, of course.
The final levels have a hedgehog - don't crash into it.

There are 63 levels and I've done them all. All together, I spent about 1 hour on this.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Quetzalcoatl: puzzle app game for iphone, ipad

iPhone Screenshot 2      iPhone Screenshot 4
Quetzalcoatl is a new snake slider puzzle that's very similar to Snake Slider, WriggleTRUpuzzlE, and Choo Choo Puzzle.  Those are all great. And so is Quetzalcoatl.  The object is to slide the snakes so that the colored circles match the colored squares. (Quetzalcoatl is named after the Feathered Serpent, the most important god in the Aztec mythology.)

iPhone Screenshot 5 iPhone Screenshot 1
There are 180 levels and I've spent a lot of time on these. Probably 5 or 6 hours to solve about 145 levels. They can be very challenging. $1.99 is the price and that comes to about 25 cents per hour.

600,000 visitors

Long time followers of this puzzle app blog know that I give a prize to every 100,000th visitor. If you're the 600,000th visitor, take a screen shot, send me an email with your address and I'll send you a small prize.

If you're using a tablet, the hit counter might not show up.  Use a regular computer.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Lock Sphere: new mechanical puzzle

I do not own the Lock Sphere. I'm not a big fan of puzzle boxes. In part because there's been a slew of ingenious box mechanisms and it's impossible to keep abreast of all the developments. That being said, I do own about 20 secret boxes.

Lock Sphere reminds me a bit of Isis, the steel ball puzzle from England about 6 years ago. 

This is the promo video. You MUST watch it.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Noda: free puzzle app game for iphone, ipad

iPhone Screenshot 1  iPhone Screenshot 2
Multiple people have recently contacted me about Noda, a free puzzle app game. Look at the first image. In the top left corner is a yellow 4 times 3. This means that the object is to create three 4's on the yellow circles.

See the yellow 5? Swipe that up or to the right, and it will divide into 3 & 2. Other rules: you can't add above 9.  A single 1 cannot move to a vacant circle. See the 4 & 2 in the first image? If you swipe from the 4 to the right, you'll get 6 on the yellow circle.

There are 48 free levels. I've solved them all - pretty quickly. However, I have not solved them all using the least number of moves.  You get a star if you solve a level with the least # of moves. The leaderboard will only record your score based on your stars.  At the moment, I have 36 stars.

There are another 72 levels and they cost $.99. Noda has a serious number of players, based on the leaderboard, so it's quite popular. Because it's fun, easy to learn with good graphics.
Update 12/15: I have now solved all the free levels & have 48 stars.

Thursday, December 11, 2014


iPhone Screenshot 1      iPhone Screenshot 2
Nili Abrahamsson recently contacted me about his puzzle app game Tealday. It's a color mixing puzzle.  Look at the second image. The object is drag some red paint, some blue paint and some yellow paint onto the big circles so that the Big Circles will match the Target Color.
I solved the first 3 puzzles. I think this is particularly difficult for me because I can't even name these colors. Aqua-Marine? Teal? Greenish-Gray?
iPhone Screenshot 3
See the numbers in the little circles? They indicate how many times you can paint the big circles.
Look at the very bottom of the second image. See the tiny question mark? Tap on that and it will tell you which of the Big Circles have already matched the Target Color.

There are 120 levels. The first 10 are free. The rest cost $1.99

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

One More Line: free point scoring reflex game for iphone, ipad

iPhone Screenshot 1  iPhone Screenshot 4
One of my students recently told me about One More Line: a game that's cool, difficult, colorful and somewhat addictive. The game starts with your man (the rainbow line) traveling straight ahead. You must avoid the objects by circling around them and then release at the right tangent point and not crash into a wall or object.

One More Line is quite popular. But it needs to be improved. For example, it moves too fast. It should really start off slowly. The point scoring system is based on how long you survive. My high score is only 21, which I think represents only 10.5 seconds. Something silly: the one's look like 7's.

One More Line is free and comes with ads. Give it a shot. And if you end up succeeding with a high score, let me know.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Har*mo*ny: free puzzle app game for iphone, ipad

iPhone Screenshot 1   iPhone Screenshot 2
Last week a colleague at work showed me Har*mo*ny 2 from BorderLeap.  Since it cost $3.99, I downloaded Har*mo*ny instead, which is free.
The object of the puzzle app game is to get your color squares to the correct row, to create some kind of rainbow effect.  This can be done by swapping 2 squares at a time. However, the 2 squares must both be in the same row or column.
iPhone Screenshot 3
At the start of the game, each square will have some dots. The number of dots indicates how many times it can swap.
Har*mo*ny has over 1000 levels. I've solved 84 of them so far. I'm not solving them all! Har*mo*ny 2 has only 'hundreds' of levels. But, as best as I can figure, it features cool music.
About a year ago I reviewed BoarderLeap's other puzzle app Blendamaze.
12/10/14 Update: I've now solved 102 levels. This puts me around #5000 out of 15,000 on the leaderboard. Obviously, this is a popular game.

Monday, December 8, 2014

oO: strange, cool dexterity puzzle app for iphone, ipad and android devices

iPhone Screenshot 1 
Maciej Targoni is the author of oO - a very bizarre, cool dexterity game. Look at the first image. You are the tiny white circle going around and around. Transfer to the next circle at the tangent point by tapping the screen. Then to the big circle. When you get to the big circle, avoid the spikes by shifting to the outside of the circle. Again, just tap the screen.

I solved the first level - after dying some 90 times. The second level is even cooler. The circles are psychedelic, wobbly, and  Dali-esque. See the second image. I have not completed the second level, though I've died over 200 times. Why? Because the game doesn't save your progress.

I did start the 3rd level. Imagine the inside of one of the circles being completely filled with spikes. (Sorry, I don't have an image for that.) Those spikes will fade on off for about 3 seconds. So you must time your transferring.

oO - screenshot

oO costs $1.99 on the App Store and $1.97 on Google Play. Not sure if this happens all the time.  If it does, then maybe we should all switch to Google Play so we can save 2 cents for all of these games. The game came out in April, but I just found out about it recently via Apps Gone Free. oO was free for a days. Nice job Maciej.

Do you have an idea for a puzzle game or something else?

Puzzle App Players,

do you have an idea for a puzzle app game? How about an idea for something non puzzle related? If so, allow me to steer you to some excellent programmers. I've known them for a long time. Their work is stellar. They're easy to work with. Who knows, you might get rich!

Contact me: my last name at

Friday, December 5, 2014

Miscellaneous Ramblings

1. I've been playing Number Painting a lot recently.  There are 500 levels and a few levels had me stuck for too long. No advertisements and it's free. The bad thing is that the game doesn't allow me to go back and redo levels I've already solved.  On the ones that I found particularly hard, I took screen shots of the solutions.

2. Twelve - Hardest Puzzle really is a good point scoring game. However, it takes too long to play a single game - about an hour. Also, the board doesn't really get crowded until you get your first 11. Which means that the first 15 - 20 minutes is mere busyness. Nevertheless, my high score puts me in the top 20 out of 36,000. I think I'm done with it.

3. Threes! - I promised myself not to play this. I got a new high score of 71,000. But not on my ipad.

4. Have you been trying to contact me via Google +, LinkedIn, YouTube or Facebook, or Whatever - to tell me about your game? Please email me directly: my last name AT

5. Do visit my friend Nicola's site: His site is similar to mine. But his focus is on the very very good stuff.

6. The List of Best Puzzle Apps of 2014 will be published on December 30th & 31st. Feel free to nominate your favorite puzzle apps and send them to me via email. Use my rule of 3: Is it fun? Do you play it a lot? Is it unique/clever?

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Book of Bad Arguments: free!

Wow, this book is short, well illustrated and well written. Good for anybody involved in debate.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

MoYu 13x13 Mechanism Revealed! From CrazyBadCuber

Years ago, it was a 'proven fact' that there could be no twisty cube made with sides greater than 5x5.  Fortunately, Mr. Verdes from Greece never saw that proof and he designed the 6x6, 7x7, 8x8, 9x9 and 10x10. 

3 years ago Oskar van Deventer designed the 17x17 cube, which he premiered at the annual New York Puzzle Party.

Check out this video of how a 13 x13 works

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Watercolors: free puzzle app game for iphone, ipad

iPhone Screenshot 1   iPhone Screenshot 2
I played Watercolors months ago. Why has it taken me so long to post a review?  I simply forgot.  The object is to drag your blue paint source to the open circle blue target. Do the same for other colors. You will have to mix.
Seems kind of easy. But there are some very interesting problems here. You will have to mix red & blue to get purple, then knock it out with yellow. Got that? Watercolors has some very interesting color topology problems that seem impossible, but are doable - if you knock secondary colors out.

iPhone Screenshot 3
There are 45 levels with 2 colors. I've solved them all. But rarely within the fewest number of moves.
There are 45 levels with 3 colors. I've solved 42 of them. Again, using lots of extra moves.
There is a 'Grid Pack' with another 45 levels. I've done 20 of them.
Beyond that, there are several more packs with very challenging levels. I have not unlocked those because I'm not done with the 3 Colors pack.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Ones 5x5: free puzzle app for iphone, ipad

iPhone Screenshot 1
Tadaki Tokairin has made another version of 2048. However, his rules are a bit different. In one version, only 1's will replace the empty squares. In another version, it's 1's & 2's that fill the empty squares.
What's different? The matching numbers will move across in 2 steps, as opposed to 1 step. This is nice to see for those people who were a little lost in 2048. However, the movements are too slow for me. I'm already making the next swipe.
I don't think I can look at another 2048 version.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Kel Snake, master puzzle box maker.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Amazing Dot - The Fun Game - not so amazing game for iphone, ipad

iPhone Screenshot 1            iPhone Screenshot 3
Amazing Dot - The Fun Game is a vertical jumping game that's very similar to Flappy Bird. I couldn't do that and I can't do this. I got through 3 levels and I'm giving up!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Swipe Master - Swipe The Arrows like a Pro!: free puzzle app game for iphone, ipad

iPhone Screenshot 1        iPhone Screenshot 2
Swipe Master - Swipe the Arrows like a Pro! - is a point scoring puzzle app game. The arrows scroll down from the top and you must swipe in the correct direction.

Zebra striped arrows must be swiped in the opposite direction.
This game is not original. It's been done before. Nevertheless, we should all be playing these types of games to keep the brain synapses lightning fast.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Cubecode: free puzzle app game for iphone, ipad

iPhone Screenshot 1  iPhone Screenshot 3
Cubecode comes from Montgomery Guilhaus. It's a point scoring game.  You must swap pairs of cubes in order to get like cubes in a column.  When that happens, you score points and gain time.  I'm not really sure how the scoring system works. But my high score is 120 and that game lasted maybe 1 minute. Think fast and move your finger faster.

Montgomery's description: 'The aim of the game is to swap different cubes by dragging them around the screen and completing a column with the same colour. This has to be done before the timer runs out, but do not worry, the timer will get faster and faster and faster. And just to be nice, the shapes on the screen will also change, becoming more complex as time goes on.'

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Scribologic: puzzle app game for iphone, ipad

iPhone Screenshot 1       iPhone Screenshot 2
From the iTunes store: 'Scribologic is an addictive path-finding puzzle app in which you get a graph paper sheet, partly filled in with pen. Your goal is to scribble in all of the remaining blank squares of paper in a single, continuous line. The path must go through all available ink drops and end on the last one. There is no backtracking, so you must plan your route carefully! As a bonus food for thought, after each level of the app you will reveal an inspiring and witty quote of a famous person.'

Here's the deal: you are the mushroom and must draw 1 continuous path that will cover every square. The last square must land on a water drop. I downloaded the Lite version & solved all 10 levels. They're good! However, I'm in the middle of a similar game: Number Painting, which is more epic/insane with 500 levels. This is the Lite version.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Line Rush! - free puzzle app game for iphone, ipad

iPhone Screenshot 2                  iPhone Screenshot 3
Line Rush is a good reflex game to ward off Alzheimer's. Colored bars scroll down from the top. Tap the match color on the bottom of the screen to knock out the lowest bar.

Here's what I particularly like about Line Rush! - it starts out very slowly and the speed builds up very slowly.  My high score is 365.!/id928270377?mt=8

Friday, November 21, 2014

Twelve - Hardest Puzzle: free puzzle app game

iPhone Screenshot 2           
Cetin Caglar has created a point scoring game that's a combination of 2048 and Tripevo and Moskeez. The object is to combine pairs of numbers and upgrade them.  Two 7's will combine to make a single 8. After each turn, a new number will randomly appear.

Similar to a lot of other games, the numbers will combine if there's a clear path.

If you cannot make a match, then 2 new numbers will randomly appear. This is bad.

The game ends when you have no more room and cannot make a match.

After every 24 moves, all of your tiles will be rearranged in a new location. Also when that happens, you don't get a new tile. This is critically important.

The highest tile that can be achieved is 12.
iPhone Screenshot 3
Twelve - Hardest Puzzle is a seriously good puzzle app. Quite possibly one of the best of 2014. My only criticism concerns the random tiles that pop up. They are only 1, 2 or 3. This makes the game go  too slowly. At times it feels like solving a Chinese Rings or Tower of Hanoi puzzle.

The game Threes! has a formula: whatever your current high tile is, divide that by 8, and that's the highest random tile that can pop up. My suggestion to Cetin: make the random tiles rise up to 3 less than the highest tile.

My high score is 6539 which places me at #22 out of 29,000 players. That particular game took more than an hour. Not because I took my time. Getting the first 11 can take about 30 minutes.

Addendum: I just found out that this game was updated. I've been playing the 'aggressive' version. There is now a 'normal' and 'hard' option. I'm not sure how they are different.

Housecleaning: The List of Best Puzzle Apps of 2014 will be published on December 30 & 31.  Get your party hats ready.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Slide It+ - free puzzle app game for iphone, ipad

iPhone Screenshot 2
Kevin Brain is the author of Slide It+. It's the traditional 15 puzzle, just presented differently.  Nothing truly original. Good for young puzzlers.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Square Lines: free puzzle app game for iphone, ipad

iPhone Screenshot 1

Square Lines is a free point scoring game that's designed to test your reflexes. Look at the very top of the image.  See the square? From the right, a green line is coming. You must quickly rotate the square so that the green side will catch the green line.

There are 4 levels of difficulty. The easiest: there is only 1 square to deal with.  The hardest: 4 squares at the same time.
We should all be playing games like this every so often to ward off Alzheimer's.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Yottaminx: giant twisty puzzle

This video is only 5 minutes long. Matt Bahner is in HS and has invented and prototyped a magnificent twisty puzzle.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Puzzlations: free puzzle app game for iphone, ipad

iPhone Screenshot 1                       iPhone Screenshot 4
Puzzlation comes from Kevin Brain (Good last name.)  As you can see from the images, it's an edge-matching puzzle app game.  Here's what's particularly good: you can adjust the settings from easy to hard. Kevin makes a distinction between Corner Match & Edge Match, but they're really the same thing.  When he means Corner Match, he's referring to each side having 2 colors.

Tiles can be swapped. On the harder levels, tiles can only be slid. A lot harder.

Friday, November 14, 2014

aa: free game app for iphone, ipad

iPhone Screenshot 1
My students recently urged me to give 'aa' a try. No, I am not an alcoholic!  'Aa' is the name of a 'test your reflexes' game.  Look at the image.  The big wheel is turning, sometimes at a constant rate, sometimes at a variable rate.
When there is room, you must shoot the next number so that it does not crash into a spoke.
The Good: 'aa' is fast, fun and very addictive.
The Bad: The game doesn't vary much. Sometimes the wheel will spin clockwise, sometimes counter clockwise. That's basically it.
The Ugly: multiple times, I was very patient, waiting for the wheel to spin and shoot into a gap.....when suddenly, the program thinks that  there's been a collision. This has happened maybe 10 times to me so far.
The miscellaneous: I was stuck on level 26 for at least an hour.  Now I'm stuck on level 49 and I don't think I'll get past it.  Would you believe that there are 525 'entirely unique' levels? Once you've done 48 levels, that's enough.  If you want to play a genuine variation, look for their other apps: ff, au, rr and uu.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

LaserBox: free puzzle app game for iphone, ipad

iPhone Screenshot 1           iPhone Screenshot 3
LaserBox comes from Eugene Dimitriev. Yes, it's another Laser puzzle app game. I've played a couple dozen of these types. However, LaserBox is really well done.

The graphics are very good. There is a good number of easy and medium levels that I solved pretty quickly. There are no ads! However, you can buy hints.

What's different: some crystals have to be activated by more than 1 laser beam.  Some squares must not be hit with a laser.
Many levels have boundaries so that pieces cannot travel just anywhere.

There are 100 levels and I have done them all. Although I admit I used hints for 2 of the problems. When using a hint, the game will show you 2 or 3 regions and you get to choose which region the pieces go. LaserBox offers a few hints for free.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The I of It: free online puzzle game

Yesterday I was giving a math test to my 7th graders and discovered The I of It.  I solved the whole thing in about 1 hour. Loved it! It's cute, delightful and sometimes quite challenging.  One element that I particularly liked is the fact that you must use the arrow buttons on your keyboard. So much fun! I don't know if the program will save your game mid stream. I was afraid it wouldn't, so I kept playing.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Choo Choo Puzzle: free online puzzle game for any computer

Did you like Snake Slider?   How about Wriggle? Or TRUpuzzlE? These are all classified as shunting puzzles. 

Choo Choo Puzzles are essentially the same thing. Except it's played on a hexagonal grid. What's different? The Choo Choo Trains cannot make sharp turns.

There are 24 levels - I solved them all in about 1 hour.  I think I'd like to see this turned into an app; it's a bit awkward manipulating the trains with a mouse.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Pordlla: free puzzle app game for iphone, ipad

iPhone Screenshot 1                        iPhone Screenshot 3
I saw the image of the fairy and wondered: is this a puzzle app game? Yes puzzlers, Pordlla is a genuine puzzle. Look at the second image. The object is to slide the rows back and forth until you think that things are lined up properly.  When you've set it up, you click on the red button at the bottom and all the tiles will fall straight down.  If there is a group of 3 or more tiles - of the same color - touching, they will disappear.  The object is to clear the entire board - all at once.
There are 100 levels. I've done about 60 of them. (Stuck on 41). The first 25 are fast and easy. Then they get harder. The last 20 - hard!
I have no idea why Yuichiro Hoshi has chosen to use a fairy or angel. What's with the title?
What I particularly like about this game is that Yuichiro has taken an old concept and added a nice variation.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Arrowed: The Arrow Puzzle - free puzzle app game for iphone, ipad

   iPhone Screenshot 1                            iPhone Screenshot 2

Remember Game About Squares? Arrowed: The Arrow Puzzle is very similar.  The object is to tap on the arrows and move them in their stated direction to the black holes.

An arrow can push 1 other arrow, but not two arrows.  There are 60 levels. That's a perfect number to solve! I've solved 27 of them. I really like this game.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Speedy Numbering Chips

iPhone Screenshot 2
Speedy Numbering Chips is a point scoring puzzle app game. You are given 3 poker chips and must tap on them in ascending order within 2 seconds. According to the Leaderboard, there are only 6 people playing this game. 6 people!  It's free! This clearly shows that there are too many games available.
At first I thought Speedy Numbering Chips was awful. Then I played it a second and third time. I do believe that this game has some good brain-speed-action-value for people who are going through Alzheimer's.
We should all be playing these types of games.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

9x9 Puzzle: free puzzle app game for iphone, ipad

iPhone Screenshot 2        iPhone Screenshot 3

Ruan Shilong has created an interesting set of maze-type-roll the ball puzzles. The object is to roll the balls until an obstacle has been reached and then get to an exit.
We've seen this type of puzzle app game many times before. Here's what's interesting: most of the levels have multiple balls to exit. As soon as 1 ball goes through an exit, that exit becomes walled-off. So the real puzzle lies in figuring out which ball should use which exit. Also, you will want to minimize the number of moves.
There are 30 levels in each grid size.  I did 10 in the 6x6 grid and 2 in the 9x9 grid. 
I like this set of puzzles. If you've never played this type of game before, give this a shot.