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Thursday, August 31, 2017

Big Cat Lion Free by Alexey Kuzmin

iPhone Screenshot 1  iPhone Screenshot 2

Alexey Kuzmin contacted me more than a year ago about his game Big Cat Lion Free.  I feel very guilty about not playing/reviewing his game in all that time.

Here's the deal: the game is an old concept where letters are substituted for numbers and your task is to figure it out.

Definitely good for kids who love math!

Monday, August 28, 2017

Blokken by Teleformar / IdeaFactory FREE

iPhone Screenshot 1  iPhone Screenshot 2
Anytime I see an image similar to the ones here.....I run! I've done enough packing puzzles. I also was never a fan of Tetris.

Blokken surprised me though.  The object is to score points by completing rows & columns.

My high score is around 2500.  Over 13,000 people are on the Leaderboard. The highest score is over 37,000. Which means I've played this game too quickly.

Amusing: the game is officially called Blokken, but the title in the game itself is Blokke.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Piece Out by Kumobius FREE

iPhone Screenshot 1  iPhone Screenshot 2
Way back in 2010 I played a game called Gold Mine by Boaz Feldman and Alex Polonsky. It was great! Unfortunately, it's no longer available. I was very excited to see Piece Out.  It's very similar.
02.png  iPhone Screenshot 4
The object is to rotate the pieces, slide them when possible if there are arrows, and get Your Man/Men to the target/s.

The concept is great.
The graphics are very very good.
There are 744 puzzles. Plus a daily puzzle. That's probably too many.

I was happy to pay $.99 to skip the ads.

At the moment, Piece Out has over 125,000 players on the Leaderboard. That's because it was featured by the App Store.  I've solved about 280 levels. That places me at #16.  But that won't last.  Because there's a massive race to the finish line.  And I'm dropping out after 300. Two people have already crossed the 600 line.

The game was developed by brothers Tom & James Greenaway and Ivan Neeson. I contacted Ivan who informed me that the puzzles are generated by a computer program. But the guys went through them all to curate the good puzzles.

Gold Mine Read my review from 7 years ago.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

GyroCube - Time Attack by Anders Schou FREE

iPhone Screenshot 1
GyroCube - Time Attack comes from Anders Schou. Imagine yourself locked inside a Rubik's Cube. Can you solve it inside/out?
iPhone Screenshot 3
Your perspective is completely fixed, so there's an element of blind-solving going on. You cannot rotate yourself within the cube.
iPhone Screenshot 5
I have not solved it. But once again, I am amazed and delighted by the creativity and ingeniousness of cubers who are finding innovate ways to keep the game fresh.

Anders - stunning achievement.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Zen Cube by Umbrella Games LLC FREE

iPhone Screenshot 1 iPhone Screenshot 2
Zen Cube is a very casual slow moving dexterity game.  Your platform already has some holes. A shape descends slowly while your platform spins. Your task is to tap out other holes to match the shape that's falling down.

iPhone Screenshot 3 iPhone Screenshot 5

Over 15,000 players are on the Leaderboard playing Zen Cube. I've only played this game twice, with my high score being 33.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Push It. Sokoban Edition. by Ruslan Goncharenko FREE

iPhone Screenshot 1  iPhone Screenshot 2
Push It. Sokoban Edition. comes from the amazingly prolific Ruslan Goncharenko.
iPhone Screenshot 3  iPhone Screenshot 4
It's a telescope Sokoban puzzle app game.  The object is to push the red and green octagons onto their targets.

1. The machines push all the way.
2. The machines can push other machines.
3. The machines which have multiple telescopes will push out all their telescopes at once.
4. There are 5000 levels in 4x4 through 8x8 grids.

What I especially appreciate: the solution is readily accessible.

I've started tackling the 8x8 Expert levels.  They're really great.  But as I've said before, there are too many levels!

I believe this is the only telescope sokoban game that utilizes multiple telescopes on one machine.

Other Telescope games
Pushing Machine - simply excellent
Dyson Telescope Game - the first game to utilize telescopes
Push It, Puzzle Edition Also by Ruslan Goncharenko

Monday, August 21, 2017

SnakekanS by Yuansheng Xu $.99

iPhone Screenshot 1  iPhone Screenshot 2
SnakekanS comes from Yuansheng Xu. It's an unusual snake game.  The object is for the snake to eat all the animals, and then get to the yin/yang exit.
iPhone Screenshot 3  iPhone Screenshot 4
1. Any time the snake eats, it grows by 1 unit. The first levels: the only animal to eat is mice.
2. Eating the frog, the snake's head & tail will swap places.
3. The Mantis must be eaten from the side or rear. The front is poisonous.
4. The Elephant: when the snake eats the elephant, it will just keep growing forever.
5. The Turtle: when the snake eats the turtle, the turtle will stay in its place on the grid.
iPhone Screenshot 5
There are 50 levels and at the moment I've been stuck on level 36 for about 10 days. There's a hint button (bottom left corner) that indicates which 5 or 6 items to eat first, but not the precise sequence. I'm a little annoyed that I can't just skip 36 and move on to the rest of the game.

There's an inconsistent rule that's been bothering me. When the snake eats an item, its head grows and the tail does not move. If the snake eats a turtle and it ends up coinciding with the end of the snake's tail, the snake dies.  So here's the part that bother's me: why should the snake die, with a turtle at its end tail, if there's food to be eaten next to the head? This is especially annoying when there's a frog next to the head which would then place the turtle in a good position on the snake.

SnakekanS is really an excellent game, despite my complaints. $.99 is a cheap price for at least 6 hours (so far) of fun.

Other Snake Puzzles: all winners.
Snaky Snake
Snakes Minimal Board Fill Puzzle
Eat A Way
Twisted Snake
Hyper Snake
Snake Slider

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Beating Vegas at Roulette

I first heard this story about 10 years ago on tv. All of the participants were interviewed and it was great fun!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

14 Puzzle Boxes Mobile device link Laptop link

I know 11 of the 14 puzzle box designers.  All great guys.

I got to play/solve one of them at the IPP. Another stumped me.

Here's the deal: the whole set will be auctioned off 3 times, not on eBay, but on a private site that only puzzlers get to see.  A similar auction occurred for the Apothecary Box Puzzle. I believe 2 sets were auctioned off for about $10,000 each.

Yes it's pricey, but it's more substantial than bitcoin, etherium or the hundreds of other forms of artificial money. It's a good investment. Seriously.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Count 60 - A 60 Seconds Game by Nexogen Private Limited Free

iPhone Screenshot 1  iPhone Screenshot 2
Count 60 - A 60 Seconds Game is a puzzle app game to test your reflexes. You are given 60 seconds to tap the numbers in order.  There is no time to study/memorize anything. This is hard!

Similar Games
One, Two Three 
1 to 25 Number Challenge

Friday, August 11, 2017

Dyson Telescope Game by Dyson Inc. Free

iPhone Screenshot 1  iPhone Screenshot 2
Recently I reviewed a game called Pushing Machine. It's a game that utilizes telescopes to push boxes onto their spots, in a Sokoban way.
iPhone Screenshot 3
Dyson Telescope Game seems to be the first puzzle app game to incorporate telescopes.  In this game, telescopes can push and pull balls and purple blocks.

There are 48 levels and they get tricky. I solved them all in about 2.5 hours.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

International Puzzle Party 2017

One of the best parts of attending the IPP is getting the chance to play/solve with the 60 + puzzles that are new and often one-of-a-kind.  At the awards dinner, I was thrilled to discover that one of my favorites this year was designed by a good friend.

If you are interested in attending an IPP, getting an invitation is not so easy. The founders of IPP want  to be very careful about who gets in.  They don't want too many people. This year about 250 puzzlers from 35 countries were in attendance.

However, the smaller puzzle parties in Europe and the US are pretty much open to everybody.  You will meet great people and see puzzles that are absolutely not available in any store.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Pilgrim in the Micro-World by David Sudnow 1983

Recently I reviewed a game called Ballz which is a game very similar to the old game Breakout.  I went to Wikipedia to try to find out what year it came out and saw that David Sudnow wrote a book about his obsession with Breakout. I decided to order it from It cost about $4.

In the past 6 or 7 years, I've become obsessed with certain games. Tripevo was my first puzzle app obsession.  I've had to delete games in order to cure my obsession.

David Sudnow was in a league off his own. Pilgrim in the Micro-World is David's memoir of his insane relationship with Breakout.

It all stems from the fact that David could not win. He studied the game in the most minute detail and chronicled his progress in a very technical way. Unknowingly, he also reveals some of his psychological doings.

David is a very good writer. At times I thoroughly enjoyed Pilgrim. In the middle, reading it became a chore. Toward the end, I was wishing that he'd simply get a baseball bat and smash the console out of his life.

I've chosen 2 passages (at random!) to quote.

Where can I put my eyes? How can I organize a way of moving that will pin down these five shots?  The moods that arise in the course of this frustrating struggle produce all sorts of minute hesitations, flutterings, and twitchings, and I can't hold the movements under control by tightening up the time, can't link each shot to the next by translating some effective emotional stance into a way of consistently pacing my play.  Somehow the eyes and hands must be freed to participate in a secret alignment I disturb whenever I try to intervene.

I'll visually improvise through the game like I did before I got the lowdown, only now I'm a bit wise to these layouts, and as the ball moves along it appears I'm glimpsing a trackedness to things, seeing a linearity to the paths along which it travels.

The best part of the book is when David visits the Atari programmers. They've already moved on to other games and have forgotten some of the details in the program of Breakout. Except for that chapter, which was fun, the book's 227 pages is more or less like the two passages above.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Jerry Slocum article

Jerry Slocum is among the very top scholars of puzzles in the world. He's written countless books. His mammoth collection was transferred to the Lily Library at Indiana University. Did I mention that Jerry founded the International Puzzle Party? I'm attending the annual convention right now.

I don't know when Jerry wrote this article.  It's about  very old Japanese puzzles.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Splashy Dots by Crimson Pine Games FREE

iPhone Screenshot 1  iPhone Screenshot 4
Splashy Dots looks like an abstract art game. In essence: it's a maze game.
iPhone Screenshot 3  iPhone Screenshot 2
The object is to start at the black dot and move horizontally and vertically and get to the black ring. Along the way, every other circle must be visited once and only once.

There have been other games similar to this one. However, Splashy Dots does not allow jumping over dots.

There are thousands of levels.  I've done about 10.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Mezzo Puzzle by burak ozcan FREE

iPhone Screenshot 1  iPhone Screenshot 3
Mezzo Puzzle comes from Burak Ozcan.  His description: So close, yet so far! Designed by a master puzzle maker, Mezzo is a minimalistic puzzle that amuses the eyes and provokes the minds. Move all the pieces on revolving rails to the boxes with the same color. Stuck? Use hints. Come on, how hard can it be? 

With levels handcrafted by a master puzzle maker, Mezzo starts as a brain teaser then becomes an addictive time killer evolves into a challenging hair puller and finally brings you to an oddly satisfying state of victory over the course of 100 levels! (Only if you can complete them; obviously.)

There are moving pieces and stationary boxes on endlessly revolving rails. Swipe left and right to move rails on the horizontally, and up and down to… well you guessed right, move vertically. Pieces can move between vertical and horizontal rails if they are at an intersection. That’s it. 
Your purpose is to move all the pieces to the boxes with same colors. Watch out because moving one piece in one direction moves all pieces in the same direction unless they are on a different axis. 

iPhone Screenshot 4  iPhone Screenshot 5
My Thoughts:
1. The first 35 levels are easy and go fast.
2.  Things get tricky at level 36 with a split rope.  37 tied me up in a different way.  Some of the puzzles have a 'solve blue and green will solve itself'  symmetry. Not so with 44.
3. At the moment I'm somewhere on level 70. Many levels go pretty fast. Others have kept me wandering around and around.
4. I like that my moves are not counted and I am not awarded any stars.