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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Bad News in the puzzle app world

Every so often, somebody tells me that they play no games or puzzles on their phones. Being outraged, and helpful, I try to make recommendations.  The other day, I was using somebody's iphone and another person's Samsung only to discover....that Stickets and Subway Shuffle are both gone from both platforms.

The moral of the story: don't wait too long to download these games.

In other news, I'm playing an outstanding game...will post about that on Friday.

I've updated my posts on Patchmania & Equalise.

Monday, March 30, 2015

iPhone Screenshot 1       iPhone Screenshot 2
Get Line - New Number Puzzle Game comes from Zebin Fang. The objective is to score points. Look at the first image: you could swipe 1 through 5 in 1 continuous loop. They would all disappear and a 6 would replace the 5.  Then 3 new numbers would randomly appear.

Alternatively, you could just swipe the 4 & 5 and you would still get a 6 left in place. But those 1 - 3 tiles would still be there.

The game ends when the board if filled with tiles.

Strategy: sometimes you want to swipe as many tiles as you can. Other times, you don't. For example, let's say you have 10, 11, and 12. At that point, I would swipe just the 11 & 12 because that will save me the time to build up another 10 all over again.

According to the game, you can get a 16 tile.  The highest I've gotten is 13.  This game reminds me of 12 - the Hardest Puzzle.  However, Get Line plays much faster.  If you ever get a 16 tile, please let me know!

Friday, March 27, 2015

Patchmania - A Puzzle About Bunny Revenge!

iPhone Screenshot 2     iPhone Screenshot 1

Glen Iba recently contacted me about his company's new puzzle app game Patchmania - A Puzzle About Bunny Revenge! It's a topology puzzle game. The object is to make sure that each critter eats his/her preferred vegetable and then jump back into a safe hole before the farmer comes.

Jon Grall is the real the developer.  It's his indie game company, called Little Details,
Glen is  merely the designer of all the puzzle levels :)   Jon, and most of the team
are located in San Francisco.
iPhone Screenshot 4  iPhone Screenshot 5
If you go to their webpage you'll see photos of Jon at his local DMV asking bored citizens to play test his game. He was willing to pay them to play & critique.  Love this! (My local DMV is a no-fun zone.)

There are over 600 levels. Many of them are quite simple. So you can jump right in. At the bottom of this section are some of the other topology games I've played over the years. I particularly like this genre & have solved thousands of these. Of the 600 levels in Patchmania, I've solved around 375. I plan to complete all of them.

What's new: having multiple paths/critters. Calvin only eats carrots, while Otto eats just cabbage. Daisy eats the pink stuff. Peanut eats the squash.  Essentially it seems that many levels have multiple puzzles within them. However, mushrooms can be eaten by anybody and when they're mixed in, things get tricky.  Also, because there are multiple holes, it's sometimes tricky to figure out where the starting point and ending point is.

Wormholes:  This is the only time I've seen a topology game that uses multiple wormholes.  There are also fences that restrict movement. (The last time I've seen wormholes in a topology game was  in an app game called InfeCCt. That game came out 6 years ago and I played it, but never posted a review. What can I say, I'm not a perfect puzzle app reporter.)

Very Impressive: over 350,000 people have downloaded this, as evidenced by the leaderboard.

Fun: the graphics are quite cute. When you haven't made a move in a while, Calvin, starts to juggle. When Daisy jumps into the hole, she pirouettes. Otto starts to snooze if he's waiting too long.

Bottom Line:  Patchmania has plenty of tough puzzles that I struggle with. Unquestionably, it's a strong contender for a PAGY award. (Puzzle App Game of the Year honors are awarded December 31 each year.)

There is a 'Terms of Service' page for users. I'm guessing it's in jest. But I'm not sure.

By the way, I reviewed Glenn Iba's old game Monorail almost 4 years ago!

Some other good topology games:
Lines Numeric Fun
Space Dots
Just Routes
Square Time
Numeric Paranoia
Number Painting
Water Colors
Colors the Addictive Game

Update 3/31:According to Glen, the Patchopolis levels are downright devilishly hard. I haven't gotten to them. I've slowed down my pace....they're getting tougher.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

5Fives: free point scoring puzzle app for iphone, ipad

iPhone 屏幕快照 1    iPad 屏幕截图 1
5Fives is a free point scoring puzzle app. It's very similar to 2048 and Threes!  The images show the rules.

I was able to solve 5Fives and unlock the next level: 6Sixes. However, I have not played that.

The graphics and interface are very well done. I even like the concept.  Hey, it's free.

My high score is 8778, a nice palindrome.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Cliff Pickover - follow him on Twitter just for his Shiver in Awe mathematics gems.

Shiver in awe. In 1991, a prime number P was found with 6400 digits that is composed of all 9s except one 8.

Jelly Slide: free puzzle app for iphone, ipad

iPhone Screenshot 1  iPad Screenshot 1
Do you remember Jelly Blocks? Michael Le is back with Jelly Slide. The object is to slide the blue shapes together and the red shapes together etc. However, the white shapes are fixed in place.

There are 80 levels and I've solved them all. This set of puzzles is much easier than his original set in Jelly Blocks. It's still fun.

Similar games:
Denki Blocks I believe this was the original puzzle app that introduced this concept.
Tile'M All This version is crazy hard.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Who is the youngest person to solve Rubik's Cube

Yeah, check out this video and think about what you were doing at that age.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Boopee - free puzzle app game for iphone, ipad

iPhone Screenshot 1      iPhone Screenshot 2
Artemiy Galkin is the author of Boopee. No idea why that is the title. Each cell has an on/off mode. The object is to  turn all the cells on.

Level 1 is simple: tap all the squares, and they change individually.  Other levels get tougher. On level 6, tap a square and it will turn itself on and then another, either to the right or down. Interestingly, if you tap on the same cell, it will then turn on/off it's next orthogonal neighbor, in a clockwise direction.

Level 7, the rules are different: tap a cell and it turns itself on/off and then 1 cell in the diagonal up/right direction and 2 cells in the down/left direction.

There are approximately 60 levels and I've done just 6. Boopee has borrowed from the Lights Out concept and made something interesting. But I'm not feeling the magic.

Update: This game appears to be a clone of Furiosity:
I have not played that. It was made by Bart Bonte.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Do Not Believe His Lies

Do Not Believe His Lies has generated a lot of publicity recently. I have not downloaded it because it seems like it's similar to 100 Floors and various Escape the Rooms.

But definitely read this article:

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Equalise: puzzle app game for iphone, ipad. Free!

iPhone Screenshot 1
Equalise comes from Main Street Code. The object is to get all the columns equal.

iPhone Screenshot 2
The Easy & Medium levels are very doable.  Hard is hard. Impossible - I haven't solved one of those levels yet.

Update 3/23/15  Glenn Iba tried to leave a comment in the field below, but was unsuccessful. Here's what he wanted to say:
Turns out that these Equalise puzzles are either trivially solvable, or else impossible.
  The solving strategy is to "normalize" each stack to height 1, working from left to right. 
  This results in all stacks height 1, except the last stack which can have a different height than 1
       (if it's 1 then your done).
After normalizing:
For EASY, it's trivial to equalize by incrementing stacks 1 and 2 until they equal the third.
For MEDIUM, again, you can raise stacks 1-5 in "unison" until they equal the 6th stack.
For HARD, if the 8th stack is different from 1, you are out of luck - it's imposible.
   The hard puzzles seem to be generated randomly, so that about 1 out of 6 will be solvable.
For IMPOSSIBLE, again the normalization strategy gets you to all stacks 1 except the last 
   which may be different.  If it is different, then it's again impossible. 
   Sadly, it looks like the impossible levels are NOT generated randomly
         -- statistically 1 in 5 should be solvable, but I've sampled over 30, 
            and none have been solvable.

How do I know all this?  I wrote a computer program to search out all solvable positions
   for arbitrary number of stacks and max stack height!

My CONCLUSION:  These puzzles are interesting for a "computer search hack attack",
   but are otherwise not very interesting.

Updeate 3/31 from Glenn: Regarding Equalise -- after looking at GameCenter and seeing that
the rankings were based on fewest number of moves to solve, I went
back and modified my search program to not only calculate solvability,
but to record the fewest number of moves to "equalize".  Armed with
those results, and after trying a large number of Hard levels, I finally
got one that was solvable in 8 moves (beating the previous #1 score of 9 moves for Hard).
Most of the hard problems are impossible, so it involved trying 50 or 60 levels
just to get a sample that were solvable, and the first 10 or so  solvable levels took more than
8 moves.  Finally I got "lucky" :)

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Monster Swipe

iPhone Screenshot 1    iPhone Screenshot 2
Monster Swipe comes from Amir Andersen. The object is to swipe your monsters until they hit an obstacle and eventually land in their home square.
iPhone Screenshot 5
We've seen dozens of variations over the years.  Does the world need another version?
What's different? Look at the second & third images. See the directional arrows? Actually, we've seen those before too.
What's really new? You can create your own levels and play levels from other people.
Beyond Annoying: I took a break and later restarted at level 58.  Somewhere around level 64, I died. I restarted....but it sent me back to level 58.   No, No, No, I thought. Let's go back to the menu & select the proper level. Just doing that - I lost another life.

How bad is this? A whole bunch of levels, 10 moves are given, implying that this one is tricky. Yet I only used 3 moves.
There are 101 levels and I've solved about 72 levels.

If you've never played one of these games before, I suppose Monster Swipe is alright. The monsters are kind of cute.

Really, you should play Woodhead. It's similar, but with a touch of class mixed with wonderful irreverence.

Update 3/24/15: I'm stuck on level 77.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Glyph - The Chain Reaction: point scoring puzzle app

iPhone Screenshot 1    iPhone Screenshot 2
Glyph - The Chain Reaction is a point scoring puzzle app game. Tap on any circle and it will shoot marbles out of its slots. If another nucleus is hit, that circle will shoot its own marbles.

I've only played Glyph a few times. I'm not into it. My leaderboard standing is 250 out of 466. I have no desire to get a higher score.
This game reminds me of another chain reaction game where the object was to clear the board of all the tiles within a certain number of moves. I don't recall the title. It was cloned several times.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Tile Enigma

iPhone Screenshot 1  iPhone Screenshot 2
The folks at Pikaware LLC contacted me 2 months ago about their puzzle app game: Tile Enigma. It's very unique.  The object is to get a stripe for each row and column within a certain # of moves.

Look at the first diagram. The middle blue piece can flip over to yellow if it moves 1 step to the left. Double tap a row or column and all its colors will flip.
iPhone Screenshot 4
Look at the last image. See the yellow square with 4 white dots? That square will activate the diagonal neighbors if it gets activated by being in a successful row or column. This means that 1 move can lead to a long chain reaction. Trying to figure out that chain is essential for some levels.

There are 100 levels. The first 40 are free. After that, the rest is $1.99.  I bought the level pack and discovered that there's another types of square with 4 white dots: it will affect only the orthogonal neighbors.
Must mention the ads that pop up. They appear at the top and I never noticed them. Until I tried playing this game without wifi. You cannot play this game unless you have wifi. Of course you can eliminate them for another $1.99. Truly, they were not bothersome at all.
Level 93 took forever to solve. I solved all 100 levels and according to this message, I'm prodigious.