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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

PAGY AWARDS 2014: Best Puzzle Apps of 2014

The famous PAGY awards are bestowed annually to the Puzzle App Games of the Year.
Congratulations to the winners.

Sudoku Killer
Titanic By SmartGames
Number Painting
Tip & Tumble
Game About Squares
Perfect Paths

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Best Puzzle App Games of 2014: The Nominations

Puzzle App Players & Designers,

Below is the famous List of Best Puzzle Apps of 2014.  I have play tested all of these extensively. My biggest regret is that I am sure that I've omitted many good games. I try to go through the new puzzle apps published weekly. People send me recommendations. I don't get to them all.

What are the qualifies of a good puzzle app game? Fun is most important. Originality is a close second. Graphics and overall presentation are third. Finally, and most obviously, is the difficulty: is there a tutorial? Are there easy levels to get your feet wet? Does the game have 100 levels or a 1000? Less is more sometimes.

Some of the games listed below are not strictly puzzles, but they often get lumped into that category by the authorities at the iTunes store. Specifically, I'm referring to the point scoring games and the games that test your reflexes. You'll find both types of those here, but not a lot.

If you scrutinize this list very closely, a couple were published in 2012 and 2013. The reason I included it now - I missed those games back then. If I missed your game this year, send me a reminder! You're eligible for 2015.

Quell Reflect +
Puzzle Chain Reaction
Sudoku Mine
Quell Memento

Sudoku Killer
Astro Mined
Titanic By SmartGames
Two Dots
Fold the Adventure
Number Painting

Park Seasons
You Have One Box
Colors - The Addictive Game
Point to Point

1 to 25 Number challenge

Connect Infinite
Amid Worlds
The Impossible Dodging

Square Push Square
Stop Crows
Colors Mix

Flip Puzzle Game
21 Dice
Atoms HD
Color Shape Tile Puzzle

Twelve Hardest Puzzle
Andy's Trains
Fruit Dating
Tip & Tumble
Photon Lab
Light Weaving
Space Crystals
Game About Squares
Click the Button
Paths of Light
Kindly Colors
Exodus Free!
Perfect Paths
Frozen Ice Cubes

Andy's Trains: puzzle app game for iphone, ipad

iPad Screenshot 1 

Andreas Gunther recently contacted me about his new puzzle app game: Andy's Trains.  Essentially it's an old fashioned 'shunting' puzzle. Basically, your objective is to move the trains forward and back on the track, dismantle, reconnect and eventually unload the cars in the correct color sequence.
iPad Screenshot 2
Years ago, I saw an old film made by Thomas Edison where the objective was to shunt the trains. As I recall, it was a little kid who figured it out. I tried finding it on youtube. No luck. However, Edison did make a slew of train movies.
iPad Screenshot 4
Andy's got something like 36 different puzzle levels. You can see from the images, some are easy, others are quite complicated.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Tip & Tumble: puzzle app game for iphone, ipad

iPhone Screenshot 1      iPhone Screenshot 4
Bill & Andrea Mitchell recently contacted me about their new puzzle app game: Tip & Tumble. Andrea & Bill have a very long history of making extremely interesting maze puzzles that are quite unique.

Let's talk about Tip & Tumble, their latest puzzle app game. There are 90 puzzles. The objectives are sometimes different. In the first image, get the balls to the correct homes. The second image: collect all the markers. Be careful that you don't fall into an inescapable loop.

iPhone Screenshot 2      iPhone Screenshot 3
The third image: get the red balls into the hole.
I've solved all 30 easy levels. 28 of the 30 medium levels and about 15 of the hard levels. According to Bill: 'Even Andrea, despite being her own designs, struggled to remember some!' I feel better now.

Without a doubt, Tip & Tumble jump onto the list of Best Puzzle Apps of 2104. The full list will be released December 30 & 31. Stay tuned.
Definitely download Wriggle,  and Clickmazes BoxUp

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Dwelp: puzzle app game for iphone, ipad

iPhone Screenshot 2  iPhone Screenshot 2
Alex Blaj recently sent me a promo code to review his new puzzle app game: Dwelp.
His description: Dwelp is an elegant little puzzler with a brand new game mechanic. To complete a puzzle, just link all of the same-colored dots by placing them one near another. There's a catch, though... Once you have connected two dots, the others of the same color become locked in their place.

It's so simple to understand, yet it opens up a whole world of possibilities! Why "only" 100 puzzles, then? Because they were carefully selected from hundreds of others, in order to offer you only the best of the best.

Each puzzle has more than one solution (and some have thousands). Will you find the one that requires the least number of moves? That’s the real challenge! Should you complete it, you will be treated to a select number of puzzles that are bordering on impossibility. But the satisfaction of solving one of those can't be described in words…

My thoughts: 100 puzzles is exactly the right number. Offering 200 is too many. The puzzles start to get quite tricky at #20. The graphics are crisp. The concept is very unique, clever and fun. In terms of classification, Dwelp seems to fall under the category of a packing puzzle.

At the moment, I have solved about 70 levels and collected 60 stars, (you get a star by solving a level in the fewest moves.) There are some bonus levels where the objective is a bit different. But very elegant.

Here's what you need to know: these puzzles are handmade/crafted with the equivalence of a fine wooden box. One level has a minimum solution of just 4 moves. How hard could it be? HARD!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Fold the Adventure: puzzle app game for iphone, ipad

iPhone Screenshot 3
Puzzle app fans, I've been away for a week. Thanks for the emails. I'm back.
Sometimes I feel guilty. I start playing a new puzzle app game, then get distracted by other new ones and forget to finish play testing and then blogging.
Fold The Adventure has a very unique design. Look at the first image. Your task is to cut some of the lines and fold other lines to create something like image 2.
iPhone Screenshot 2
Then, your man, Nezo, can climb up the step ladder configuration to collect the stars and head for the exit. The graphics are very nice. There are 40 levels and I started to get stuck at just level 7.  At the moment I'm stuck on level 19.

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.