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Monday, June 30, 2014

Perfect Paths: puzzle app for iphone, ipad

iPhone Screenshot 1 iPhone Screenshot 2
My puzzle app colleague Nicola Salmoria sent me a few emails to try Perfect Paths. I always follow his advice. But the price was $3.99 and the images looked like another topology game.

A few days ago, the price dropped to $.99 and I pounced. Yes Perfect Paths is a topology game, but not really. Your task is to move the colored tiles to the dots. However, whatever path you draw will not be continuous. Strange, I know. There is a metronomic device that says, Up, Down, Right, Left. Then it repeats.

Every tile on an Up square must move up just once. Then every tile on a Down square, must move down once. Etc.  You may think that the paths you draw will not lead to crashes, but they will.
See the paper clips at the bottom? You will need to connect squares and disconnect them too.

Right now there are 56 levels, which include 6 tutorials. Supposedly, more levels are being added every week. I cannot confirm this. Right now I have solved 47 of them.  The vast majority are difficult. Hard. Seemingly impossible.  Lots of trial and error. Frustrating. But I keep playing. While watching hours of Breaking Bad, which I never got around too.
There is a point scoring system. Efficient paths score more points. I'm honestly happy enough to have solved a level. Cause for a house party. But if you want to get high up on the Leader Board, you should check out Nicola's tips.

Perfect Paths is definitely one of the Best Puzzle Apps of 2014.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Puralax: puzzle app game for iphone, ipad

iPhone Screenshot 1 iPhone Screenshot 2
Puralax is color painting game by Luis Bricker.  It's hard to describe.  Look at the first image. See how the very top is red? The objective is to paint all the tiles red.  See the green square with the white dot? That means you can drag that color onto the yellow squares. All contiguous yellow squares will then turn green.  The red square has 2 dots. One dot allows it to be moved next to the green group. The other dot allows you to paint the green group red.

I've completed all 20 levels of Stage 1. Almost done with Stage 2. There are 6 Stages, so presumably there are 120 levels.

You can play online for free!

Puralax reminds me a bit of Zen Color. Read my review from last summer on that.

Puralax has some easy puzzles, but they get tough pretty quick. Definitely a winner.

Update 6/30/14: I've been playing Puralax more and have now solved 93 levels.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Titanic By SmartGames: puzzle app game for iphone, ipad

iPhone schermafdruk 3
Raf Peeters recently contacted me about an update to Titanic. The original game came out in 2012. (Click here to read my review back then.) It was judged as one of the best puzzle apps of that year, by yours truly. The objective remains the same: move the lifeboats to pick up the passengers to rescue them. Be a hero with your puzzling skills.

There is no time element. Take your time. Your boats can travel forward and back and even sideways. If an empty bench gets next to a survivor, he will stop the boat and climb on. (Nice graphics.) If 2 passengers are adjacent to the same bench, you get to decide which one to take. Once a boat is full, it cannot move.

So here's the update: this new version has icebergs. The lifeboats can push the icebergs NOT in a sokoban type way. Your boat can push multiple bergs at the same time. Forward, back and sideways.

Of course there are 4 levels of difficulty, but now that's doubled. The Deep Blue levels are the same as the original Titanic.  The new ones are called Iceberg.  204 levels - should keep you busy for a while. I skipped the Beginner Iceberg levels and jumped into the junior levels. I did all 24 of those, but must confess, I struggled on some of them.  On the Expert Iceberg levels, I've done 7 of the 24. I'd like to think that they are impossible, but that's what makes it very good, right!
Titanic By SmartGames is one of the best puzzle game apps of 2014.  Bravo Raf!

By the way, there's an old silent film called Way Down East that's got an incredible scene of a woman jumping among ice floes before she gets to a waterfall.

Titanic is the only puzzle app that I can think of that that stems from an historical event.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Stop Crows: puzzle app game for iphone, ipad

Vasile Dediu is one of 10 people in the last week to contact me about their new puzzle game apps. That's right, this blog is becoming a job - an unpaid one.

You may recall that I reviewed his pure puzzle app Amid Worlds. I really liked it.

iPhone Screenshot 1

His latest is called Stop Crows. It's an arcade type game. All the birds will fly into the bird houses. Your job is to whack the Crows out by pressing the corresponding number at the bottom. You must time it accordingly, because if you're a bit early and whack an okay bird, game's over.

Right now, only 18 people are playing it via the Game Center. I'm #2 with a score of 99. The #1 player's score is over 300.  I should also point out that the birds fly slowly and gradually speed up.

Everybody should try this game: it's good hand/eye coordination. We all want to ward off Alzheimer's. Most importantly, it's fun for a few hours. Watch Vasile get a score of 295.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

TRUpuzzlE: puzzle app game for iphone, ipad

iPhone Screenshot 1 iPhone Screenshot 3

Vladimir Semenko came out with TRUpuzzlE in 2011. But I just noticed it. TRUpuzzlE is the perfect example of how very good puzzle app games can get buried under the avalanche of new stuff.

TRUpuzzlE is very similar to Wriggle and Snake Slider. The object is to slide the chains around so that the green chain gets to the green squares.  The puzzles are very well designed. The order of difficulty is not sequential. Level 25 was much harder for me than some later levels. That's a minor complaint.

The steampunk art is only in the one image.

There are 56 levels and I solved them all in about 2-3 hours over two days.

Note: this game is temporarily free, so get it right now.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Escape the Room NYC

Seems like yesterday when I did Escape from the Werewolf Village.

On Saturday I participated in Escape The Room NYC with 10 other people.  This was much more interesting/interactive than Escape from the Werewolf Village. Lots of moving around in a tiny apt to find clues, open locks etc. Our group was headed by Brett Kuehner. He's done a bunch of these room escapes before. Because of him, our group escaped in 38 minutes. Which broke the record.

$30 is a bit steep, but you'll never forget the experience.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Zen Triangle: free puzzle app game

iPhone Screenshot 4

Sanmoy Ray recently contacted me about his puzzle app game Zen Triangle.  The objective is to fit the pieces into the tray.

I've done a couple thousand of these over the years. They're classified as packing puzzles. I'm not a big fan of the genre. At least anymore.

Zen Triangle has over 350 levels. I have no internal need to solve them all.  I did the first dozen which are really easy. Even for a beginner, I think they're too easy. I was not able to access the harder puzzle levels because I didn't upgrade.

I can definitely see some young puzzlers liking Zen Triangle. The graphics are good and it's easy to rotate and flip pieces.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

TwoDots: free puzzle app game for iphone, ipad

iPhone Screenshot 1  iPhone Screenshot 4

Lots of people are playing TwoDots. The objective is to solve each level by achieving various goals. Essentially, it's a lot like Candy Crush. When you run out of lives, you can purchase more. This game is making boatloads of money. Unlike this blog.

Here's what's better: if you can get a square of the same color and swipe them out, all of those colors will be removed from the board. That becomes the essential strategy for pretty much every level.
There are 85 levels, of which I've solved 42. When I run out of lives, I switch back to FOLT, until I run out of lives there.

Update:By coincidence, the New York Post has a story about this app today!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Blokkology: free puzzle app game for iphone, ipad

iPhone Screenshot 1

Blokkology is a free puzzle app game from You can play it on any device - even a regular old fashioned computer. You are the bright blue square. Your task is to move to the square with the tiny black and white checkerboard inside. See the numbers on top: 33945?

Blokkology is really a maze puzzle. You must figure out in which direction to travel those first 3 steps, then the next 3 steps, and 9 get the idea.

Blokkology has green portals. There are also bombs that might spoil your day.

Altogether, there are 250 levels. The first 100 are free.  Of those, I've solved 99. For some reason I could not access 100 but was urged to get the full version. Unfortunately, the full version is not available right now. Nor can one do an in-app purchase.
I have some qualms: the graphics could be better. The info on the right of the screen should be smaller and make the board larger. Why can't I undo a move if I swipe in the wrong direction accidentally? The first 100 levels should have 5 & 6 steps to really whet my appetite for more.
Nevertheless, Blokkology has a certain appeal to many puzzlers: novice and pro

Monday, June 9, 2014

2 puzzle stories from this weekend

There are 643,817 people playing FOLT according to the Game Center. In terms of 'levels completed', I'm ranked 41.

The Endless Mode part of the game - only 4707 people paid $.99 for that. Saturday night I got a score of 594. Which puts me at 1. Sunday, Fridgeman1874 came close to defeating me, but he died at 590. This is why my parents sent me to college.

Something different. I ran into a puzzler friend at the juggling festival at Barnard College. Hadn't seen him in about a year. He told me that he had gotten cancer, lymphoma to be precise. He had 4 rounds of chemo therapy. And now he's completely cured. He looks very healthy.  Each round of chemo zonked him out for 2 weeks. Ready for this? He thanked me for recommending good puzzle apps to play during those 8 weeks. It's nice to know that my efforts are making the world a little better.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Oskar van Deventer's Gear Fold

I got my first Oskar puzzle back in 1988.  At my first IPP (International Puzzle Party) in 2000, he was the one I wanted to meet.  On the day of the puzzle party (buying and selling) there was a long line for another famous puzzle designer. I went straight to Oskar's table to buy almost everything he had.

Puzzle collectors specialize in their collection: sequential movement, wood, metal, entanglements etc. My collection: I once tried to specialize in Oskar puzzles.  That was before 3D printing came to be and he started cranking out 50 puzzles per year with an average cost of, I'm guessing, $150.

Gear Fold seems very similar to Rubik's Clock. I positively loved that puzzle for its ingenious mechanism. It wasn't too hard to figure out.  The principles from that can be applied to Gear Fold, which is $89.40.   If I win the lottery, I'll buy all of his puzzles.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Folt: free puzzle game app for iphone, ipad

iPhone Screenshot 2  iPhone Screenshot 4
I found my cure from Threes! This past weekend I downloaded Folt from Daniel Lutz. He has an outstanding track record of producing terrific puzzle apps. But it's been a while since his last one.

Your task is to unfold your man from the square with the white circle on it and either stay alive or score points by creating groups of 3.  The game is similar to Stickets, one of my all-time favorites.

Last night I became the 2nd highest scorer in the 'Endless Mode'. When I woke up this morning, I was bumped down to number 5. My score is 436.  Daniel told me that his high score is only 300. The key in Endless Mode: patience!

Issues: everybody can see the next 3 tiles. If you pay some money, you get the right to see a 4th tile. But that does not apply to Endless Mode.

Folt definitely has a Candy Crush feel to it. You can't stop playing it. You are aggravated by the sequence of tiles. Yet you still keep playing. When you run out of lives, you must pay $.99 to keep playing, or wait a certain amount of time. Note: on Endless Play, you must pay $.99 to play, but you will never run out of lives.

Here's what I do: I play the levels until I run out of lives, then shift to Endless Mode. At the moment, I've completed 71 levels.

Miscellaneous: each time you play, the colors change. I really dislike the black/gray/orange group. Daniel told me that he's thinking of giving users the option to choose the colors.

I know there will be puzzle app fans who will hate this game. Folt is definitely one of the best puzzle apps of 2014. It's closer to Stickets than Candy Crush.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Escape From the Werewolf Village

This weekend I went to Webster hall with 5 puzzle friends to play Escape From the Werewolf Village.

You are locked in a room and must solve a bunch of puzzles of all types in 1 hour.  Clues were scattered throughout the room.

1. There is no way you could solve all the puzzles by yourself in the given time.
2. The clues around the room: interesting. But gimmicky. I've played some 'escape the room' puzzle apps where you have to go back and forth in the room. In this case, you copied down the clues only once and then solved everything at a table.
3. Types of puzzles: be prepared to solve word puzzles and just 1 mechanical packing puzzle.
4. Heavy emphasis on word puzzles.
5. Every 10 minutes, the room went dark and another villager was killed. Using deductive reasoning, you can figure out where the werewolves are.
6. This concept/event is gaining in popularity. The company has numerous other games going on in other cities. Here's what I noticed: 10 tables were full at 6 per table. The price was $25/person. Good business.
7. I noticed that other tables were just random people. So the event is a good way to meet like minded brainy people.

Monday, June 2, 2014

BoxOff: free puzzle app game for iphone, ipad

iPhone Screenshot 2 iPhone Screenshot 1 iPhone Screenshot 4

Michael Gilbert has come up with a terrific puzzle app game called BoxOff. The object is to remove all the circles. See the first image - those are the rules. Essentially: connect a red circle to another circle to form a rectangle of any dimensions provided that there is no other circle - of any color - in that rectangle.
The second image is a sample puzzle of that.

See the third image? That version is called Stacks. The same rules apply except that the top circle will come off first.

There is a third version of this game! The objective is to remove all the circles under the rules, but now you must maximize the area of your rectangles.

Each version has 23 levels. I have not completed any of them. They get tough!
BoxOff easily makes its way onto the prestigious List of Best Puzzle Apps of 2014
Update 2/27/15: Michael Gilbert is the developer of BoxOff, but the game was invented by Steve Meyers. BoxOff was featured on the cover of Games Magazine last year.