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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Lab Mice Puzzles in Barnes & Noble

Want to buy a great set of spatial reasoning puzzles for a young puzzler? Please consider my product for Lab Mice Puzzles.

Barnes & Noble is now carrying it. Next time you're in one of their stores, take a picture of yourself holding a copy, send me the picture and maybe I'll post it on my blog and give you a prize!

Click here to purchase.

Happy Thanksgiving. Next post will be on Monday.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Tunga Bunga: free online puzzle game from SmartLive

 Raf Peeters has created numerous puzzles for Smart Games Live over the years.  His latest has a caveman theme: Tunga Bunga is the title.

The object is to place the tiles onto to the board so that the hungry bear cannot escape off the grid.

Look at the example below: note the pieces can be rotated. You really just need to block off the two exits. But every piece must be placed onto the board.

There are 72 levels in the easy, medium and hard levels.  I did a few of the easy ones then jumped to the expert levels and did 9 of the 24. These are challenging! You are given the same 4 pieces every time.

Tunga Bunga is the perfect game for elementary school kids. I can imagine teachers letting their students play this as a reward.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Path Puzzles by Rod Kimball: new book of pencil puzzles

Rod Kimball is a professional juggler with the Flying Karamazov Brothers. (Way back in the 80's, I idolized these guys as awesome jugglers who got to play for a living.)

Besides being a terrific juggler, Rod is an  accomplished musician with the Maestosities. He's the trumpet player. About a year ago, they made a pilot tv show. I threw in some money via kickstarter, got a t-shirt and saw the premiere. It was hysterical! I generally do not watch sit-coms either.

But this post is really about a new genre of pencil puzzles called Path Puzzles.

The object in Path Puzzles is to find a route from the entrance to the exit so that the numbers on the top and sides match the number of squares used in that column or row.


There are some sneaky features like not knowing which spaces are the entrances/exits.
Look at the 8!  It's in the middle and means that the path will cross through 8 of the spaces in that column and row.

Path Puzzles come in all grid sizes and some funky irregular shapes.  There's a good mixture of easy, medium, & hard puzzles. Most importantly, they're fun.

The final batch of puzzles is encrypted. Which means that each number is replaced with a letter. So it adds a little cryptology to the mix.

$12 is a bargain, considering that it will provide you with a good 15 hours of entertainment. Note: bad movies cost the same and use up only 2 hours of your time.

Buy the book!  Then bring it with you to the New York Puzzle Party Symposium in February and get it autographed. Rod will be there.

New Yorkers: I'll be selling puzzles this Saturday 11/23 at a Fall Festival at the Church of the Heavenly Rest. 2 East 90th st. Right off 5th avenue. 1 block north from the Whitney museum. Come say hi and tell me which puzzle apps you've been playing.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Professor Max: free puzzle app game for iphone, ipad

'Dr. Maximillian von Fluffybottom, Professor of Advanced Particle Physics was hard at work one day when he noticed that he was late.....'

Professor Max is a sokoban series of puzzles. The first 20 are free.  I solved #s 1 & 20.  I want to like this set of puzzles. You have the option of making it 3D or 2D.  Either way, the movement is too slow and I'm impatient.

Perhaps you're a sokoban fanatic and can't get enough of these.  If so, give this a try and let me know if these are good.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Cross the Line Puzzle Game: free puzzle app game for iphone, ipad

Cross the Line Puzzle Game is another topology puzzle app game.  The idea is to cross each bridge once.  Kind of easy if you know the key on where to start and where to finish. On higher levels, the idea is to cross each bridge a specific number of times.

There are some variations - and they're good!  Houses and Colors is challenging.  Cross a yellow bridge to turn yellow, then find the yellow house and tap it.  Very clever & tricky.

Another theme of Houses and Colors is called Tolls. In Tolls, you must collect a coin from each house to pay a toll to cross some bridges.  Some houses have multiple coins, buy you cannot grab them all at once.  You must exit the area and return to get the 2nd coin. There is one particular level in Tolls that I've spent at least an hour on.

There are 80 levels.  I've done 69 of them. The graphics are not very good. But the puzzles are.

However, the ads are frequent. Not just after you're solving a puzzle, but in the middle. And it seems like every ad is for the evil Candy Crush. At least 10 times this happened to me: I tapped to move my man to a spot.......but a nano second beforehand, the Candy Crush ad popped open. Therefore, I actually tapped on the ad which directed me to the App Store.  Not only did it interrupt my game, it eliminated all my progress on that specific level.  Extremely annoying. I decided to turn off the wireless to play uninterrupted.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Ins and Outs: free puzzle app game for iphone, ipad

 Andrew Kallem recently contacted me about his puzzle app game Ins and Outs - A Casual and Competitive Puzzle Game.  The object is to form a loop around all of the 'ins' while leaving all of the 'outs' outside the circle.
There are 900 free puzzles.  100 levels for the 4x4 grids, 100 for the 5x5's.....all the way up to 100 for the 12x12's.

I've done a lot of these - simply because they're addictive and fun.  The grid sizes of 7x7 and smaller - I can do those in seconds.  The 12x12's can get tricky, but not terribly so.

Ins and Outs - A Casual and Competitive Puzzle Game is unique, fun and dammit, I'm going to solve all 900 free levels. At the moment I've done about 600.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Arrows Maze: free puzzle app game for iphone, ipad

Arrows Maze comes from
The object is to place the green arrows so that your blue square will get to the red square.

One very interesting feature: your man can go through the ceiling and emerge from the floor.  This torus feature will become an integral part of the solutions to many of the puzzles.

There are 32 levels and they seem kind of easy at first. Until you get to #11. That's when the torus feature explodes at you.  Great design.

Look at the 4th image. See the orange arrows? They rotate 90 degrees every time your man passes over one of them.

I solved the first 29 and got stuck on 30.

I'm not sure if the developers saw this, but I found a very easy solution for level 24.  In that puzzle, 13 arrows are provided. I only used 2.

In the past, we've seen many maze puzzle apps with all sorts of features like this one has. Neverheless Arrows Maze is a fine mixture of challenging fun with just the right graphics.

Friday, November 15, 2013

The Impossible Cube Maze Game: free puzzle app game for iphone, ipad

The Impossible Cube Maze Game is a crazy hard maze puzzle app game!

'You begin your journey in a corner of a cube filled giant cube.  Trek to the center to discover the power within the cube.'

I played this for about 10 minutes and got very disoriented & lost.  I did not make it to the center of the 5x5x5 cube maze.

I know some of you who have been following this blog think that I can solve every single puzzle. But that is not always the case.

If you get to the middle, please take a screen shot and send it to me.

Update from Robert Dancer who follows this blog: Interesting... Color schemes are both useful and disorienting...! I usually have a very good sense of 3D, but in this case I had to draw a map...!
Incidentally, the centre cube flashes when you see it through a doorway, and when you go into it it flashes a lot, and then tells you that you have unlocked something (probably the next level) and then shows you the screenshot...!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Unlock Me Free: puzzle app game

Unlock Me Free is a free puzzle app game.  Looks a lot like Rush Hour and its clones.

I was not able to open this program!  I deleted it and then re-downloaded it.  Maybe it's because I'm still on iOS 6.

Nevertheless, the author says that there are 80 levels that will take hundreds of hours to solve.  I'm skeptical.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Simpl: puzzle app game for iphone, ipad

Ash Oakenfold recently contacted me about his new puzzle app game: Simpl.

The object is to roll the blue square onto the yellow square. I was a bit confused at first.  Then I read the description: think of the blue square as a 2x1 cube.  So, it's a rolling 3D cuboid puzzle.

I'm not sure how many levels there are, but it's a lot, maybe 75.

Having done a few thousand of these in the past, I'm not enthusiastic about doing more, but they are well constructed, from the ones I did.

As Ash said in his note to me: 'there's no dazzle'. What would really be helpful would be a 3-d rendering.

Look for Bloxorz.  It's an old flash game to play on your computer.  About 10 years ago a student told me about it - I liked it so much I gave him 10 extra points on a test.

The greatest rolling cube puzzle that I have seen is QVoid. I reviewed it about 2 years ago. Trust me, it's awesome.

Another kick-ass rolling cube puzzler is Cubler 2.

Ash: please dazzle us in the future.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Shuffler Game Free: free puzzle app game

There are way too many 15 puzzle app games out there.

However, Shuffler Game Free is extremely interesting and worth your time. Of course, the object is to restore order to the numbered tiles. If you want those tiles to form a picture, so be it. The numbers are tough enough.

You can select your puzzle to: swap 2 pieces, rotate 4 pieces, swap pieces via columns and rows.

There is a paid full version for those who want all the other features.

Shuffler Game Free is smart, challenging and a winner.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Sokoban Cargo: free puzzle app game for iphone, ipad

Right around 1995 I got a game called Boxworld. The first 13 levels were free. After that, I mailed $5 to the developer and he sent me a disc for the other 87 levels.  By far, the best $5 I spent that year.

There are lots of similar puzzles and the generic name is Sokoban.

Sokoban Cargo has 24 free levels. #4 is hard! I'm stuck.

Oh yes, the objective: push the boxes onto the x targets. You may not push more than 1 box. If you push a box into a corner, you're stuck!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Aeon Beam: free puzzle app game

 Aeon Beam is a free puzzle app game. The object is to untangle the strings.

We've seen this type of puzzle app many times.  The first time I did it was about 8 or 9 years ago. There was a terrific on-line app. I forgot what it was called.
Aeon Beam has something like 100 levels. You cannot jump around. I did about 20 of them.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Unblock My Ship: free puzzle app game for iphone, ipad

This is the latest ripoff of Rush Hour.

A note to puzzle app developers: please be original. I hope nobody downloads this.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Pet Rescue Saga: free puzzle app game for iphone, ipad

Pet Rescue Saga comes from the makers of Candy Crush Saga. Candy Crush has become a mega monster hit. Previously, I stated that I would delete it. But I still have not. I'm on level 112.

Pet Rescue Saga is based on an old concept. I don't think it's particularly good. However, I saw an advertisement last weekend during Saturday Night Live. Has there ever been another tv commercial for a puzzle app game?

Getting back to Candy Crush: every day I see people on the subways playing it. I've been asking them what level they're on. Then I ask if it's taken over their life.

Candy Crush & Pet Rescue both are legitimate puzzle app games. However, there is an element of luck which can be annoying. Also, both games have timers which forbid you from playing very long. Unless of course you pay. Or change the date and time forward on your iphone or ipad.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Mystery Lighthouse: puzzle app game for iphone, ipad

Mystery Lighthouse is  not a new puzzle app game. It came out about a year ago. It's similar to Myst. If you haven't played that, well, you simply must do so!

 Mystery Lightouse: you must walk around the island and figure things out, pick up tools & coins and ultimately find out what happened to your uncle Augustus who is/was the lighthouse keeper.

You can solve the whole mystery in about 1 - 2 hours.  My son, who is 11, really liked it.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Super Squares: free puzzle app game for iphone, ipad

Super Squares is a free puzzle app game that is very similar to Flow.  The object is to connect the two red squares and the two blue squares etc, while sweeping over all of the stars.

See the brick squares? Those are obstacles. You may explode them with your finite number of bombs.

There is always enough bombs to solve any puzzle. But if you're bad at topology, you can purchase bombs.

There are 300 free levels. I solve about 90 of them in about 40 minutes.  If you've been following this blog, you know that I've done thousands of topology problems. So I found these to be really easy.

My one qualm with Super Squares: I collected all of the stars and made all the connections but  I sometimes forgot to connect the last square to the home square.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Qwhizzle: free puzzle app game for iphone, ipad

Normally, when I see math puzzles, I'm skeptical.  Qwhizzle is a free puzzle app game similar to the card game 24.

Look at the first image. See the 3 lit up on the bottom? That's your target.  To get it, you must swipe 6-3 in that order.  This is not a 'tap the numbers' action.

Scrutinize the bottom of the first image. You are given 10 targets and a limited amount of time.  The tiles cannot be swiped more than once.

I've spent a couple of hours on Qwhizzle. I am impressed at the level of difficulty, particularly on the 3x3 grids. It's simple math, but the time pressure makes it fun and challenging.

Here's a slight negative: in order to play the 3x3 grids, you must accumulate a certain number of points on the 2x2's. Of course, you can purchase points and stars with real money.

Qwhizzle may be the best math puzzle app game of 2013.