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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Best Puzzle Apps of 2011

It's almost impossible to keep up with the 100 new puzzle apps that get released each week. Below is a simple list: the best, most fun puzzle apps that I played in 2011. Most of these were brand new in 2011. Some came out earlier. What distinguishes a Best Puzzle App from Honorable Mention Puzzle App? I like them all, but the Best Puzzle Apps are the ones I've spent a lot of time on!

Alphabetical lising:
2Bik's Cube
Align It!
Beam Puzzle
Boxed In
Continuity 2
Full House
Galaxy Express
Hi Lo Sudoku
Mortal Coil
Mystic Glyph
Numeric Paranoia
Solitaire Chess
Strimko Gold
Witty Bump

Friday, December 30, 2011

Honorable Mention Puzzle Apps 2011

This list is composed of very good puzzle apps. Perhaps they didn't make it to the Best Puzzle Apps list because I didn't spend enough time on them to recognize the genius behind it. Without a doubt, they are all worthy of your consideration!

Best Lights Off
Brain Freeze
Cut the Block
Escape: The Room
Flip Them All
Neon Zone
Ruby Capture
Rush Hour Holiday
Spins 3D
The Square
Tiny Invaders

Thursday, December 29, 2011

2Bik's Cube: free iphone ipad puzzle app

My first thought: ugh, another sliding tile puzzle. However, this one is different. Entire rows or columns shift only where the gap is. Align the colors by columns. Harder than I thought!

Check out the image of the guy wearing a brain vest. Reminds me of the french restaurant in mid-town that offered calf's brain as an entree. We decided to get Thai instead.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Cubyrinth: iphone ipad puzzle app

Cubyrinth is a series of maze puzzles. Object: get the green ball to its home. To do this, move the middle layers right/left and up/down to align the path. You may have the right piece in the right place....but it might not be oriented correctly.

There are 28 levels. I have done about 9 of them. This puzzle is similar to Cubetastic. Those users should definitely download Cubyrinth.

Christoph Grossegger from Austria is the author.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Sphinx: free iphone ipad puzzle app

Sphinx is a free puzzle app. The goal: assemble the pieces into each of the outlines. Pieces can be flipped & rotated. Not my cup of tea. But I've never been a huge fan of these types of puzzles.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Monsters Fall: iphone ipad puzzle app

Monsters Fall is a quasi tilt-app. The object is to get each colored monster into their corresponding home. The blue monster always falls down. You can adjust him left or right. The green monster always falls up. Again, you can adjust him left or right.

The red monster falls to the right and the yellow monster falls to the left. You can adjust their positions up and down.

Monsters Fall right now has 20 levels. A very nice change from the puzzles that have so many puzzle levels that it's almost impossible to finish. The first 5 or 6 levels are really 'learn the rules' type levels - very simple. Then they get challenging.

I have solved all 20 levels. It took about an hour. I should mention that some levels have wormholes. In this case, they are depicted as telephone booths. Quaint!

Nikos Detsikas contacted me about his new app and informed me that more levels will come out. I look forward to solving them.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

tJam: iphone ipad puzzle app

tJam looks a lot like one of the greatest puzzle apps of all time: Subway Shuffle.
It is not a rip-off.

Cars may travel on roads of their own color. When that happens, the color gets erased. Any car can travel on a white road - then that road becomes that car's color.

Object: get all the roads to be white.

This is one fabulous puzzle app. A likely candidate for the upcoming Best Puzzle Apps of 2011 List. 199 levels. At this moment, I have solved the first 45 levels.

99 cents for many hours of addiction and frustration. Bravo to Ivan Vassilev

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Ruby Capture: iphone ipad puzzle app

Ruby Capture is a terrific chess puzzle app. Object: capture all the rubys by moving each chess piece once. If a chess piece crosses over or lands on a blue plus sign, it gets an additional move.

The puzzle has 100 Easy, 100 Medium, 100 Hard and 100 Very Hard levels. I solved all 100 easy levels. Then I moved on to the Very Hard Levels and solved 25 of them.
Without a doubt, Ruby Capture is fun and addictive! The Very Hard puzzles were not as hard as I thought they'd be. Still, this is a fine set of puzzles. Young chess players should definitely play these.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Tumblox: iphone ipad puzzle app

Tumblox is a a tilt maze puzzle. The object is to get the colored boxes onto their matching colored targets.

We have seen numerous tilt maze puzzles. Tumblox is extremely well done. For one thing, instead of swiping left/right or up/down, the user manipulates the arrows and the entire board will shift 90 degrees. This is a very cool feature.

Tumblox has wormholes. We've seen them before. However, some wormholes only work for particular colors. Some wormholes only work in 1 direction. Finally, some wormholes only work when the block approaches it from 1 direction.

At a certain point, the levels go from a 2-dimensional grid to 3 dimensions.

I have solved 56/80 levels. I want to solve them all! But that's going to take a lot of time. $1.99 - less than a slice of pizza.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Best iphone iPad puzzle apps of 2011

I'm working on the first annual 'best puzzle apps of the year'. There were several thousand new puzzle apps in 2011.

Next week I will post the list. Stay tuned.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

New York Puzzle Party Symposium

Mark your calendars: The annual New York Puzzle Party Symposium will take place Saturday 2/11/12. Contact me for more details.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Temples of the Sun: free iphone ipad puzzle app

Temples of the Sun is a free iphone ipad puzzle app. Move the mirrors to various points on the grid so that the light beam will bounce off them and through the crystals to score mega points. This is a great fun app - for kids. For the serious puzzler, skip it.

Friday, December 9, 2011

iklotski: free iphone ipad puzzle app

I got my first computer in 1994 - a Gateway. Soon thereafter, I got a CD-ROM of puzzles. One of them was Klotski - which was a lot of fun.

This version iklotski, is a bit boring. All the puzzles have the same grid size. Nevertheless, if you've never done it before, this is a respectable puzzle app. Is it one of the best fun puzzle apps of 2011? Not really. But hey, you may disagree

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Magic Hexagons: free iphone ipad puzzle app

Magic Hexagons is an interesting point scoring puzzle activity. Tap on 3 or more hexagons of the same color if they are grouped together. At the bottom, the next level will emerge onto the bottom of your grid.

After playing for about 28 minutes, I finally cleared the board completely, before the next level popped up. Nothing happened! It just kept going.

The presentation is nice, and I must admit, it was fun. Is this one of the best puzzle apps of 2011? I don't think so. Still, I played it for 28 minutes!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Zoo Block: free iphone ipad puzzle app

Zoo Block is a point scoring puzzle. Switch 2 neighboring pieces so that one of them will line up 2 with matching pieces. Then they score and disappear.

We've seen sooo many types of this puzzle. Not sure the world needs another version. However, the images are cute animals. So hey, maybe this will appeal to kids. Otherwise, skip it.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Vocab Star: free puzzle app for ipad and iphone

The images describe everything. Try to make 4 5-letter words. Hints are given for the 4 words on a separate page. Letters in the blue circles can swap with each other. Same for the orange circles. There are 150 levels. I've done about 15 of them - including the last few. It's fun, it's free. But I might go crazy doing all of them!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Clever Frog: free iphone ipad puzzle app

Clever Frog: the object is to prevent the Clever Frog from reaching the perimeter. How to play: you tap on any lily pad to eliminate it. Then the frog will jump to a neighboring lily pad. Try to cut him off!

I've done 2 levels. That's it. It's good. Definitely not for kids. Is this one of the best fun free puzzle apps of 2011? Not really. But it's certainly interesting enough and worth your time to try it out.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Rush Hour Holiday: iphone ipad puzzle app

Last summer, I solved all 625 expert levels of Rush Hour. I thought I was done. Now, the good people of Thinkfun have produced Rush Hour Holiday which includes 400 new levels - 100 easy, 100 medium, 100 hard, 100 expert.

The grid size remains the same.

The 'cars' are now gift-wrapped presents. The Red Car is replaced with a penguin on a sled.

Puzzle-wise, Rush Hour Holiday is exactly what you expect from ThinkFun: the right mixture of puzzle difficulty combined with addictive fun.

The graphics: it's a nice change from the regular cars.

According to Bill Ritchie, the founder of ThinkFun, the original Rush Hour App has been downloaded over 1,500,000 times. Way to go!

Rush Hour was invented by the late Nob Yoshigahara from Japan. I had the good fortune to meet Nob several times at the International Puzzle Partys.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

JuiceIt: fun iphone ipad puzzle app

JuiceIt is a combination of Bejeweled and Tetris. Blocks of 4 come tumbling down. Tap on it to rotate, then guide it down. Match 3 in a row and poof! They disappear and you score points.

I never got into Tetris or Bejeweled, but if you have, then you should give this a try. David Formanek is the author.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Inakube: iphone, ipad puzzle app

Ian McColm and Brian Skidmore recently contacted me about Inakube. It is a transparent 3D version of the 15 sliding tile puzzle. However, the puzzle is completed when the 3D model of the figure is created.

One of my favorite mechanical versions of this: Magic Jack. Look for it on ebay. Those cubes were not however, transparent.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Puzzlers: remember to socialize with your family and friends this holiday weekend. Put away your ipad, iphone & ipod touch. If you cannot, at least spread the gospel of fun puzzling to them.

See you on Monday.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Lab Mice Puzzles on Youtube

The good people at are responsible for the Lab Mice Puzzle craze that has swept the world. Watch the video. And think about holiday shopping. Oh yes, if you buy one of these puzzles at night, then I'll be making money in my sleep. Thanks for the support!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Aqueduct: great fun puzzle app for iphone, ipad

Aqueduct is one of the best puzzle apps. Object: move the tiles from the water source to the drain. The first 48 levels are free. I have solved them all. They range from super easy to challenging. I paid for the next 192 levels ($2.99) I did the next 75 levels pretty quickly and am getting to the more challenging levels.

The black squares can move and serve as rafts for the the tiles to transfer from one area to another. The full version has wormholes. The tiles that are yellow are fixed and cannot move. Definitely download the free version; you'll like it.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Cubetastic: great iphone ipad puzzle app

Cubetastic is a great fun and free puzzle app. The object is to slide your man - the luminescent white ball, to the target. Your man will always stay on the top face. Rotate the other faces to get colored tiles on the top.

On harder levels, your man will start on a white tile and must transfer to a color changing tile that lets your man switch to, say, the orange tiles.

I have solved about 25 of the puzzles. Novel idea. Definitely fun

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Numbrosia: free iphone ipad puzzle app. Limited time free

Numbrosia comes from Amir Michail. He contacted me very recently about Numbrosia, Numbrosia2 and Numbrosia3. They are all free - for a limited time.

I play-tested Numbrosia last night and solved about 20 levels. The object: turn all the numbers to zero. Moves: slide rows across. Slide columns up and down. Add or subtract 1 to any row or column. Solve each puzzle in the fewest # of moves.

Is Numbrosia a great fantastic puzzle app? At first I said no. But I kept playing! So there is something addictive about this. Especially when you solve 1 puzzle in 48 moves and then redo it in 22 moves.

Readers/Play testers: tell me what you think of Numbrosia

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Tripevo: one of the best iphone ipad puzzle apps

Tripevo now has a genuine 'Leaderboard'. Due to my interminable addiction, I'm at the top.

Tripevo is truly one of the best iphone ipad ipod touch puzzle apps. Trust me.

Friday, November 11, 2011

idescend: free iphone ipad puzzle app

idescend: the object is to keep your fish moving left or right to land on another plank. Similar to Fall Down. This is not a true puzzle. It's more of an action reflex puzzle. It's free and fun. Is this the best great puzzle app of the year? No

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Stop the Press: This blogger was wrong!

Most esteemed readers:

I was wrong. I admit it and apologize. Let me explain. About 2 months ago I reported about a puzzle app called Doodle Nums. I played this app for about 40 minutes and determined that it was impossible to solve.

One of my astute 'followers' (no I do not feel like a religious guru) sent me an email with a screen shot that proves she solved Doodle Nums. Her name is Kara Sheftel. And today, I yield to her superior puzzle solving prowess. Applause!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

SpiderJack: free iphone ipad puzzle app

SpiderJack is similar to Angry Birds. The object is to get your spider to its web to eat the fly. Along the way, try to collect some stars. Your spider hangs by its thread. Let it swing (to collect the starts) and then swipe cut the thread so it lands at the web.

I'm not a fan of Angry Birds, so, unfortunately, I'm not a fan of SpiderJack. However, if you like Angry Birds, then definitely try SpiderJack

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

OpenValve: free iphone ipad puzzle app

OpenValve is a great free iphone ipad puzzle app. The object is to rotate each of the pipe sections to get the water to the target without spilling. Very similar to a previous game I reviewed: Plumber Game. Plumber game has 50 puzzle levels. OpenValve has 250 levels. I have don 59 of the 250 levels. This is a puzzle that I feel that I must solve all the levels!

Monday, November 7, 2011

17x17x17 Cube Puzzle: now a Guiness World Record

February 12th of this year, Oskar van Deventer presented his 17x17x17 Cube puzzle at the New York Puzzle Party Symposium. The Guiness Book of World Records has now acknowledged this officially as a world record.

I was extremely happy and honored that Oskar asked me to write a 'witness letter' to the Guiness people. And now it's official!

Friday, November 4, 2011

NumberGame: free iphone ipad puzzle app

Object: get the numbers in the correct order. This is done by rotating 4 pieces at a time. The cursor on the left allows you to select which 4 pieces will rotate.

Great puzzle app? Certainly not. But I did play it a few times. Getting the top 2 rows is simple. The bottom 2 rows can be difficult.

I first saw this puzzle app on a Nokia phone about 10 years ago.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Kunundrum: free iphone ipad puzzle app

The object of Kunundrum is to get the colored balls to the colored targets. This is a tilt maze where each ball will travel as far as it can. There are arrows which can change the trajectory. There are colored portals that transfer only that same colored ball. Oh yes, there are gates which can be opened and closed.

We've seen all of these features in similar games: Quell and Blaxx come to mind. (See my reviews of those.)

The first 20 levels are free. Then it's $1.99 for another 80 or 90 puzzles. I'm not sure. But right now I'm stuck on level 97.

Kunundrum is definitely the right mixture of easy, medium & hard puzzles. Is this one of the best fun puzzle apps of the year? Quite possibly.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Blockado Deep Sea: iphone ipad puzzle app

Blockado Deep Sea continues the original Rush Hour theme of getting your man out of the parking lot. Blockado Deep Sea is a continuation of the Blockado family of puzzles: Blockado Jungle, Blockado Desert and Blockado Mountain.

All of these puzzles are good! On some puzzles, the object is to get multiple treasure chests out of multiple exits. Some pieces have springs, magnets. Others are rope/coils and move like a snake.

Blockado Deep Sea has a good mixture of easy, medium and difficult puzzles. Importantly, there is just the right number of puzzle levels - so you can get a sense of accomplishment and say: I did them all!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Blockado Mountain: iphone ipad puzzle app

Blockado Mountain is in line with Blockado Jungle and Blockado Desert. All are based on Thinkfun's Rushhour.

Blockado Mountain has a good mix of easy, medium and hard puzzles. It improves on Rush Hour in that there are innovative elements. Moving a piece under a floating diamond makes other squares in the grid form blocking columns. There are springs, magnets and coiled pieces that can snake around.

Another nice feature: Blockado Mountain has the right number of puzzles: not a zillion! Excellent value for the price.