Monday, December 28, 2015

The 10 Best Puzzle Apps That You Haven't Played in 2015

Hello puzzlers,

I haven't been updating the blog this year, but I have kept playing iOS puzzle games, and giving brief heads up on Twitter. It's now time to pick the best, for the customary end-of-year top 10 list.

While I must say that I felt 2015 was, for puzzle apps, a worse year than the preceding ones, there were still many excellent games released, and it was difficult picking just ten of them.

#10 Kaodoku

A variation of Sudoku which is a lot more difficult and interesting. Excellent hint system, which gently points to the logic deduction needed to proceed. The puzzles are randomly generated, favoring the ones that remain interesting until the end.

#9 Patchmania - A Puzzle About Bunny Revenge!

This could very well be the final word in "path finding" puzzles, extending the mechanics in several ways and putting cute animations on top. I think it might even have too many levels, so it can get a bit repetitive after a while.

#8 Divide By Sheep

I like the dark humor of this one. Don't be put off by it being pitched as a "math puzzler": the math is elementary. There's a lot of variety, because the mechanics change in many ways as you progress. Easy to play through if you don't care about earning 3 stars, but if you want to find the perfect solution to each puzzle you have a lot of thinking to do.

#7 [the Sequence]

A "visual programming" game with novel ideas and very good level design. You essentially need to put together an assembly line of different robots, then watch it run as they move items from start to finish. Unlike other games of the genre, it doesn't leave much freedom to create your own solutions, because you have a limited number of elements in each level.

#6 Good Fences

This game oozes mathematical depth--in a good way. The aim is to completely surround a shape with identical copies of itself, which gets complicated as the shapes become irregular and difficult to tightly pack together.

#5 Inch By Inch

A rare instance of a single-tap puzzle game, where timing is essential, but isn't everything: to ensure that your worm doesn't die a violent death, you need to carefully plan your moves. At the beginning you might think that you are just timing your moves wrong, but eventually you realize that you are doing the wrong moves.

#4 Manowar

One of the best physics puzzlers ever. While physics do play a major role, the core of the game actually requires a lot of logical thinking. In some cases you also need good dexterity and precise timing, but more often than not, the main difficulty is figuring out the right sequence of actions to do.

#3 Test Chamber - Mind-bending Puzzles

A "block pushing" puzzle set in a mysterios "wraparound" world. Clever mechanics and doubly clever level design. with many surprising solutions. Takes a while to grasp, and is well worth it.

#2 A Good Snowman Is Hard To Build

Another "block pushing" puzzle which features some incredibly simple mechanics used in creative ways. One of the best examples of videogames as a form of art. It might seem short, but there's a hidden meta-puzzle after the end which raises everything you did previously to a different level.

#1 Tetrobot and Co.

One of the largest collection of "a-ha!" moments in a puzzle game. Great mechanics, explored in lots of different directions by making all kinds of variations to the world. Large, very well designed levels. The basic solutions are reasonably approachable, but requires careful thought in order to achieve the 3 "stars". And after you've done that and think you're clever, you need to bend over backwards if you want to unlock the extra achievements.

©2015 Nicola Salmoria. Unauthorized use and/or duplication without express and written permission is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Nicola Salmoria and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Strategy guide for SubaraCity, or how to achieve a score above 200 million!

If you don't know SubaraCity you can check my review of the game here
My highest score is 232,788,070 and you can check the final state of the board here. I am ranked 284 of a total of 153,279 players so I suppose I have a few tricks that some people don't, so I'll try to share them.

Review: SubaraCity

Subaracity is a FREE "match-by-combining" game recommended by Nicola Salmoria @NSalmoria on his tweeter feed. Matching games in all their flavors is a venerable genre on the AppStore and one I am particularly fond of. The reason of their popularity in my opinion is that they tend to be casual games and perfect for mobile. Other good examples of match-by-combining games are: Stickets, Threes! and Triple Town. Triple Town is the most similar one to SubaraCity, but they play quite differently.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

The best puzzle apps that I didn't review in 2014

2014 was a great year for puzzle apps. While I reviewed a good number of them on this blog, there are many more which were undeservedly left out. I did mention them on Twitter, so make sure to follow me to be always up to date.

I list them here as a holiday shopping list, strictly in alphabetical order. Many are truly excellent, so make sure to give them a try.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Review: Pair Solitaire for iPhone and iPad

Pair Solitaire by Vitaliy Zlotskiy played a nasty trick on me. I got my best score on the very first game, and haven't been able to replicate it since.
I like this game because even if it has the mechanics of a classic card solitaire, luck is not particularly involved. At the beginning, you have full knowledge of the position of all the cards, so it can be approached like a puzzle.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Review: Andy's Trains for iPad

Train shunting is a classic puzzle genre, but for some reason the App Store seems to be lacking that kind of games. The recently released Andy's Trains attempts to fill that void.

The game's title screen surprises, showing an animated railway full of switches, semaphores, and tunnels, where several trains are presumably on their way to solve some complicated puzzle.
Developed by the German Andreas Guenther, this is clearly a work of passion, and even if it looks a bit amateurish in places, or perhaps precisely because of that, it stood out amonge the weekly deluge of new puzzle games.