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Posts Tagged ‘Games’

The Room by Fireproof Games $.99

  The Room- screenshot thumbnail

The folks at Fireproof Games recently came out with their fourth game The Room: Old Sins.  I figured it was high time that I go back and finish playing their first game The Room.

   The Room- screenshot

A lot of my mechanical puzzle friends loved this game because it’s essentially a secret opening box with a million components.

   The Room- screenshot

This past week I restarted the game from the beginning and finished it in about 3-4 hours spread over 3 days. Good quality entertainment for only $ .99!

   The Room- screenshot

The art work is fantastic.

   The Room- screenshot

The puzzles themselves were okay. But not outstanding. When a puzzle solution gets repeated later on – that’s a big no-no for this type of game.  For example: certain keys have to be manipulated/spun to match a key slot. That was done 3 times.  Another: 2 dials had to be spun at the same time. This puzzle concept was later repeated. Yet another example: spinning 5 dials to spell out a specific word that was revealed only by using the special goggles.

   The Room- screenshot

The individual puzzles all had to be solved in a specific sequence. This made the experience more like a movie. But without a plot.

There are 7 letters from your long lost uncle or cousin. All of them talked about his finding some mystical power. None had any relevance to the actual puzzles.

I’m glad I finally played this game because everybody’s been raving about it for so long. But I wasn’t so enthralled that I’m going to play their 3 other games right away. But I will play them.

Check out Mystery Lighthouse. It’s the same idea, though much simpler. The artwork is totally different and much brighter. It also has a certain charm to it that The Room is missing.
The Best iphone, ipad Puzzle Apps and Mechanical Puzzles

7 Little Words by Blue Ox Family Games, Inc. FREE

I reviewed 7 Little Words way back in 2011.  For some reason it was listed as a new game. Oh well.

There are 5000 puzzles!  I’ve done about 50 of them. The first 20 were too easy. I’ve been struggling on the last 10.
The Best iphone, ipad Puzzle Apps and Mechanical Puzzles

One Touch Neon Glow Draw: Free Shape Puzzle Drawing & Connect Games (That’s one long title.)

iPhone Screenshot 2

Some games need to be avoided. One Touch…Games is one of them. The graphics are good. But there are only 16 levels and an ad pops up after each one.

Is there a puzzle app game that you’ve played that’s simply awful?

iPhone Screenshot 1

The Best iphone, ipad Puzzle Apps and Mechanical Puzzles

Logic Dots 2 by Ayopa Games LLC FREE

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Logic Dots 2 comes from Ayopa Games LLC.  The object is to place the dots in the grid to satisfy the number of dots specified for each row & column.  At the same time, the dots must form clusters that match the ones at the top of the screen.  See image #2 for an example.

iPhone Screenshot 3  iPhone Screenshot 5

The App Store Gods highlighted this in their New Games We Love.  I do not love this game. Nevertheless, I’ve done over 100 levels. They’re fast. But I must move on to something more worthy.
The Best iphone, ipad Puzzle Apps and Mechanical Puzzles

Tents and Trees Puzzles by Frozax Games FREE

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Tents and Trees Puzzles comes from Frozax Games. It’s an old concept from at least 1989. It first appeared in a Dutch puzzle magazine called Breinbrekers.  Leon Balmaekers was the inventor.

iPhone Screenshot 3  iPhone Screenshot 4

The object is to place tents in the rows and columns such that:
1. Every tree must have a tent next to horizontally/vertically.
2. No two tents can be next to each other horizontally/vertically/diagonally.
3. The numbers at the top and on the side indicate the # of tents.

These puzzles are kind of easy. But they’re fun!  I’ve done about 120 levels. I would have done more, except I have to earn extra coins by either watching ads or waiting 6 hours!  Of course there’s an option to buy coins.  I’ve seen the same 5 second ad for ‘slider fries’ about 40 times now.

Frozax made the Thermometers game from 2 years ago and Mirrors & Reflections from 5 years ago.
The Best iphone, ipad Puzzle Apps and Mechanical Puzzles

21 Black by Bit Free Games FREE

iPhone Screenshot 1  iPhone Screenshot 3

21 Black comes from Bit Free Games. The object is to score points by combining adjacent tiles to make 21. Two identical tiles never add when they merge. Two 6′s will yield one 6.

iPhone Screenshot 2  iPhone Screenshot 4

I’ve played the endless mode. This is an interesting game. The idea is great. The graphics are very good.

Where 21 Black falls short: if played perfectly, you’ll never lose. You can even make a lot of mistakes and easily overcome them.  I stopped at 1000 points and then intentionally lost.

Another problem: the program does not always save your game mid stream.

Other Point Scoring Games Worthy of Your Time (Some are no longer available.)
Four Straight Lines
Nineout II
BeeCells Lite
Kindly Colors
Domino Drop
Put Number
Triple Town
Kindly  Colors
Virus Pop Smash
+1 Number
4 Way Puzzle

Black Boxes

Hit N Run
Super Swipes
Make Square
Color 6

The annual PAGY Awards are fast approaching. Each year, I nominate the best Puzzle App Games of the Year on December 30.  The winners will be named December 31.

Note: the PAGY Awards are very subjective. (Just like the Oscars, the Grammys and the Pulitzers.) The first purpose is to draw more people to the joy of puzzles. The second is to recognize the indie gamers who put forth their best creative efforts. Sadly, many of these games are unprofitable. It’s the elephant in the room. But we hope they continue.

 To be sure, I have play tested every single game thoroughly. A constant regret of mine: overlooking a puzzle. If I’ve missed a worthy game, send me a note, and I’ll include it for 2018.
The Best iphone, ipad Puzzle Apps and Mechanical Puzzles

Gerrymander: Rig the Election by Good Egg Games FREE

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Gerrymander: Rig the Election comes from Good Egg Games. The object is is draw some lines so that each group has an equal number of people and that your political party will prevail in a majority of the regions.

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Note Puzzlers not in America: every 10 years the United States does a census. The purpose of this is to reallocate the number of representatives to the House of Representatives.  Let’s say New York needs to lose 1 seat while Texas gains a seat.  The state government in each state will then redraw the district lines. Theoretically, this would be done logically. However, some democrats and republicans will be very craft to ensure that their party wins a majority.  The origin of the term Gerrymandering is also interesting.  See the link for the other game Districts.

I’ve solved about 15 levels. It’s okay.

Districts is very similar and came out earlier this year.
The Best iphone, ipad Puzzle Apps and Mechanical Puzzles

The Lost City by Fire Maple Games $1.99

iPhone Screenshot 1

Are you a fan of Myst?  There’s been a slew of similar games in recent years published on the App Store.  The Lost City is yet another one.  It’s fine.

iPhone Screenshot 3

The most interesting feature in The Lost City, is that there are 4 seasons that must be activated. Which means that if you want to open the treasure chest, it will have to be done in the correct season.

iPad Screenshot 2

Fortunately, like Blackthorn Castle (link below) there’s a map that will speed up your travels if you forget where the cave is. Hints are available too.

Where the game loses its appeal is that there’s no plot.  After solving 1 puzzle, something slid open and revealed…..a hammer.  Of course the hammer is needed to smash open something else.  But seriously, I would have used a big rock.

Similar Games
Blackthorn Castle
Spooky Manor
Mystery Lighthouse short and fun. Play this game first.
Mystery Lighthouse 2
Dreams of Spirit: Fire Gate
Lost Souls: Enchanted Paintings

The Best iphone, ipad Puzzle Apps and Mechanical Puzzles

Flow Free: Warps by Big Duck Games LLC FREE

iPhone Screenshot 1  iPhone Screenshot 4

Loyal Blog Followers Robert Dancer & Marcelo Pars have convinced me to give the folks at Big Duck Games another chance with their Flow games. I was never not okay with Flow. Though I’ve always loved the concept. Their graphics have always been outstanding. I shunned their games because the puzzles were too easy. Some were so easy that not all the cells were needed.

Their hexagonal version was the easiest.  Their Bridges version was interesting, but still not very challenging.

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Flow Free: Warps is a great leap forward. (Reminds me of an economic policy in China.) The object is the same. But there are walls and paths can to a wrap-around.

Unquestionably, these puzzles are the hardest and most fun.  I’m doing these while watching tv.

The section I like most is the Warpyard Park. Of the 150 puzzles, I thought the hardest were 109 & 145. In the Jumbo Jet Pack, level 123 remains unsolved.

Every cell must be filled. This fact actually offers many clues that I utilize.
Interesting feature: some cells can only be crossed with a specific color.
Minor complaint: there are 2 shades of red that are a wee bit too similar. Same for the whites.

Getting back to the whole Flow Family Puzzles: they’ve been downloaded over 250 million times. That alone helps turn non puzzlers into puzzlers.  Kudos to them for that, and this game Flow Free: Warps. This version has about 1200 FREE levels. Some go very fast. I am going to do them all.

High Praise: I paid $ 2.99, not to skip the ads, but to show gratitude. There are about 2000 levels. At the moment, I’ve solved about 1400 levels, plus all of the daily puzzles for 31 days in a row.
The Best iphone, ipad Puzzle Apps and Mechanical Puzzles

Games Magazine Story

In 2002, I hosted the first New York Puzzle Party. One of the attendees was Robin King. I had actually met Robin a year or two before, very briefly, at the New York Toy Fair.  The company that produces the card game SET, had a competition. Using their computer, how many sets could you find in 1 minute. I was in the lead. They told me to come back at 3:00 to claim my prize. So I did. I think I won a brand new deck of SET.  5 minutes later, Robin shows up and beats my record. But it was after 3:00. I saw her name on the badge and was very impressed with the company she worked for: Games Magazine.

After the NYPP in 2002, Robin invited me to play test some games with her husband John McCallion.  On the way there, I thought to myself: my sisters are going to be so envious because I’m entering the Games Magazine office to play test. In fact, we met at the Manhattan Fire Safety office on 32nd street. This, I learned, was John’s real job. It’s really one of the most boring offices I’ve ever seen. 20 desks with telephones. Everybody’s job: to sell fire extinguishers. I never actually saw anybody except John & Robin in the office, since I would always arrive at 6:00.

Over the next 10 years I would play test with John & Robin, usually on a Wednesday night. Typically, we would play 3 games for about 2 hours. All sorts of games: card games, board games, games with a thousand rules. John would always read the rules. About 90% of the time, Robin would win. During the night, John would lose his temper at me, or at Robin  or another play tester because we had forgotten an obscure rule. It was always amusing to me to see him so frustrated and him cursing – in a genteel way! - with his Irish accent.

I never met the man who owned/ran Manhattan Fire Safety, but I noticed that he left sarcastic memos around the office.

On and off I would tell John & Robin that they should write more about mechanical puzzles. One day, Robin suggested to me that I give it a shot. My first article for Games Magazine appeared in the February 2006 issues. 6 pages called The Puzzling World of Oskar van Deventer. I was off and running and gave myself the title Mechanical Puzzle Correspondent. I wrote 27 articles.

But it’s all come to an end. Last year, around Thanksgiving, Robin passed away during a lung transplant. I knew she had been in the hospital for months, and felt guilty about not visiting her. Then I saw John on the 7 train. He told me that she had gotten the transplant and it was a success. He was overjoyed. Unfortunately, it was not a success and Robin passed away the very next day.

My editor at Games Magazine, Wayne Schmittberger, was recently fired. The entire magazine has been downsized. It may even stop publishing. John has quit. What I’ve learned is that when things fall apart, they do so very rapidly.

Below are some links from Drew Davidson. I play tested with John & Robin and a bunch of others. I don’t think I met Drew.  Perhaps I have. Robin & John always had a thank-you dinner at an Indian restaurant at the end of the year for all the play testers.  Drew’s 3 part story is better written and more comprehensive than mine.

The Best iphone, ipad Puzzle Apps and Mechanical Puzzles