## Wednesday, May 27, 2015

### Dots Tails: free puzzle app game for iphone, ipad

Andrew Kyznetsov is the author of Dots Tails. His description: 'Dots Tails - is a puzzle game, an intergalactic time accelerator, with the goal of helping Captain Square gather his tails!

Somewhere in the far far galaxy, Captain Square was waging war against the triangle invaders. In one of the heavy battles his ship was seriously damaged, but the captain’s own spirit was not broken; he understood that he had to retreat, or he would be captured by the hated triangles. An intergalactic jump ship was launched. But something went wrong. The computer set a route right through a giant quasar. When the captain found himself in it, he noticed that he had turned into a huge string of dots, and his intellect had ceased to be a single whole, the whole world consisted of his past, present, and future woven together. In order to escape from this trap, he must gather himself together piece by piece. With his last smidgen of strength he calls on you for help!'
Each squared number must travel over the circled numbers to get to zero.  Look at the 2nd image.  See the 6? It's going down, then to the right. The 5 is going to the right and then snake up & to the left. The 3 at the bottom is going straight up.
As you pass over a circle, that circle will disappear, unless the circle has a dot or 2 dots underneath. Each dot represents an extra life for that circle.
There are approximately 200 levels & I'm stuck on 98.
Dots Tails is a good puzzle app. But I'm moving on to other puzzle apps.
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/dots-tails/id975308362?mt=8

1. Tom,

I tried out your game based on your recommendation. I found 2 solutions for Level 98 (the level you are stuck on). Here is a screenshot showing one of the solutions (the other solution is just a trivial variant):

http://postimg.org/image/m31q0qlk7/

I agree with you that the game itself is not very engaging. The puzzles seem derivative, lack cleverness, and require excessive trial and error. A reason for the derivativeness is that it is trivial to generate extremely complicated puzzles because both the values of all of the numbered tiles and the starting values of all of the chains are entirely arbitrary. Consequently, you can simply start with an arbitrary layout of numbered tiles, draw out arbitrary paths for an arbitrary number of chains, sum up the values of the numbered tiles each chain crosses, and then set the starting value for each chain to each sum. The design of this game mirrors many design properties of Sokoban. It is trivial to work "backward" to derive the initial layout of the puzzle once you have a solution in mind, but it is not trivial to work from the initial layout to discover the solution.

2. Superb comment! Thanks.