Tag Archives: Puzzler

Tippy Tower Worth Checking Out for Puzzle Fans

A block puzzler called Tippy Tower has recently gotten an update and is definitely worth trying for gamers looking to use your logical side of the brain. The 1.2 update added a bunch of new levels to play with some challenging shapes to put together.

Tippy Tower is not your standard Tetris clone, you do not assemble blocks or puzzle pieces together to form lines while they fall from the sky. In Tippy Tower, the puzzle pieces are already available for you to tinker with from the get go. The premise of the game is that you have to assemble these pieces together and form a tower all the way up to the sky. It is actually kind of like the opposite of what Tetris aims to do. You build up in Tippy Tower instead of down (by keeping blocks low in Tetris).

As you do this, you have to find unique ways to put together blocks that are shaped in odd and intricate shapes. There are the standard Tetris blocks but other shapes not found in most puzzle games, as well. The game will challenge you and make you think logically. The art and graphics are also charming with puzzle pieces having little eyes looking at you.

Be sure to grab yourself a copy of Tippy Tower from the App Store for only $.99 on the iPhone.

Cut the Rope Review: So sweet your back teeth will hurt

Cut the Rope is a puzzle game that fits neatly in the niche that Angry Birds has created and continues to dominate. What’s amazing about it is that it measures up to those ill tempered birds so well and, depending on your personal taste, might even surpass the amount of enjoyment we all get from flinging those avian creatures.

The premise of the game is unbelievably simple. You receive a little monster in a box and have to feed it…candy. Sounds simple right? There’s one giant catch that keeps this from being a new kind of Tamogatchi. The candy is suspended in the box by an increasingly complex series of strings. It’s up to you to figure out how to sever the strings in such a way as to get the candy to the poor hungry guy. It’s even more complicated though. In addition to the strings, you’ll encounter bubbles, deadly (to the candy) razor blades, and all manner of obstacles. You’ll need to cut, swing, blow, suspend, float, and drop each piece of candy to the monster who awaits, hungry, at a different location in each stage.

If you’re still unsure, this is where the game really picks up on the success of Angry Birds. Each box contains 25 stages and so far there are four boxes with the tantalizing promise of more to come real soon. The sheer volume of puzzles you get for the price is great and I love the idea that overtime more will be added. I really hope that they continue the game into the foreseeable future and expand it as the Angry Birds team has.

The first box is pretty easy, and you might be alarmed that you’re blowing through it fast. Don’t worry though. It seems that the first 25 stages exist to get you going with manual skills you’ll need in order to have any success later on. When you hit the second box the difficulty takes a pretty sharp upward climb.

I really couldn’t imagine, from the screenshots, how this game was going to be much fun or why I should play it instead of my favorite bird flinging time waster. In addition to the above, here’s why it’s quickly becoming my new iPhone (and iPad) staple.

Likes

Gameplay: The physics at work in each stage are really fun and feel really good when it comes to anticipating the motion of the swinging piece of candy. Each stage is sufficiently different from each other one so you don’t get much sense of repetition at all. Each stage is also really intriguing. There was a lot of thought that went into the construction of each of the games 100 (so far) stages. I’ve only played halfway through the second box and I’ve seen some really devious and cunning designs. This was intricate work and each level is significantly more fun to master than Angry Birds levels where many times you luck into a solution.

Graphics: The look of the game is truly beautiful. I’m not a fan of undo flashiness. I’d always prefer good gameplay over graphics, but I have to say, this game is gorgeous. The objects presented in each stage have a very nice tangibility that add to the real physics fun when getting the candy to your monster. Finally, what can’t be overlooked, is the fact that your monster is ADORABLE. He grimaces if you miss him with the candy. He looks excited as it comes toward him and disappointed as it swings away from him. He is wonderfully animated and yet done in a simple way that doesn’t distract from excellent gameplay.

Price: As with Angry Birds, you get a lot for the price of the game and you end up feeling really rewarded for having given these guys your money. Also, the iPad version is negligibly more expensive than the iPhone version so, you may as well get both!

Game Center: Anytime someone adds their game to Apple’s Game Center, I’m thrilled and this is no exception!

Dislikes

Length: Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot of content in the game and you’ll easily get your .99 worth out of the game, but Angry Bird’s set pretty high bar in terms of sheer volume. I’m anxious to see Chillingo get more levels out to us eager players. If they do make good on the promise of more to come this reservation will be gone.

Progress Syncing: It’s hardly a criticism of Cut the Rope in particular, but as with any game, including Angry Birds, where we’ve got it on both our iPhone and iPad, I’d love to see some sort of progress syncing between versions. Still, the stages are fun and replaying them isn’t a horrible sacrifice. It’d just be nice to not have to.

Cut the Rope is appealing in price, aesthetics, and gameplay.  What more could you ask for?  If you haven’t picked up this title yet, I suggest you to hop yourself over to the App Store and pick it up.

Cut the Rope was developed by Chillingo, and I’ve been playing version 1.0 on my iPhone 4 and iPad. It’s available for $0.99 on the iPhone/iPod Touch and $1.99 on the iPad.  There is also a lite version to try before you buy.


Castlevania Puzzle: Encore of the Night Review: A Traditional Castlevania Experience with a Twist

Like most Castlevania fans I was more than a bit skeptical when Castlevania Puzzle: Encore of the Night was announced for the iDevices.  But like any true hardcore gamer, I decided to reserve my judgement for the final product itself.  While I was not thrilled with the idea of a puzzle fighter I decided to give it a chance and let Konami put my fears to rest.

What I found was, in fact, one of the deepest and surprisingly longest games I have ever played on my iPod.  The game takes place after the legendary Symphony of the Night game and has you take up Alucard’s mantle once again.  Featuring high production values and a single player campaign that is incredibly long, Castlevania Puzzle: Encore of the Night has a lot more to offer than most any other game on the app store.

Likes

Classic Castlevania feel: This was quite possibly the biggest and most pleasant surprise of the entire game.  Konami managed to maintain the very essence of Castlevania through traditional map exploration, short character interactions, and many traditional RPG elements such as a leveling system, spells, equipment, and other items to manage.

Music: The music also has a very classic Castlevania sound to it that really helps maintain the essence of the franchise while also keeping the mood intense throughout the entire experience.

Art style: Keeping with the series’ now trademark 16-bit art style, Castlevania Puzzle: Encore of the Night again maintains the integrity of the franchise by not straying from another key element.  The detail of each segment of the castle is also instantly noticeable and easily appreciated for the intricate designs.

Depth: Despite the overly simple puzzle fighter mechanic, there is a surprisingly deep and long adventure/RPG in there. There are lots of items/item sets to collect and a wide array of in-game achievements that inspire the player to scour every inch of the castle in search of its secrets.  The castle itself is as big as any found in previous titles with many varied areas.  Just exploring this behemoth will take hours of your time.

Story: The traditional short story segments spread throughout the castle are by today’s standards sub-par. Contrary to this, these snippets of story have long since been a staple of the series’ storytelling format and thus add a smidgen of charm despite the weaker dialogue than in previous games in the series.

Dislikes

Boss fights: The one real flaw about the game is the lack of potency of the boss fights.  The vast majority of them did not feel much different from regular monsters.  Sometimes the difficultly is ratcheted up a few notches but often times they just feel like regular fights that go on a little bit longer.  This is the only area of the entire experience that really shifts away from the classic Castlevania style.  Boss fights always stand out and often require a dramatic shift in gameplay tactics over trash mobs.  Perhaps the puzzle-fighter aspect of the game is what prevents this traditional part of the experience from being presented since it’s highly restrictive on what can and cannot happen during a battle.

Control: Another small grievance is the control issues.  While the puzzle touch sensitivity can be adjusted it does not seem to help the occasional hiccups that occur with the controls.  More often that could be considered just a fluke I found that when I was swiping a puzzle piece around the screen it would randomly drop straight down when I had not made the downward stroke for it to do so.  Also the exact opposite happened occasionally as well: I made a downward swipe to make the puzzle piece fall straight down to the bottom of the puzzle and instead it would either do nothing or make one turn in a different direction.  Fortunately these problems never caused any major harm I was almost always able to recover from the mistake.

Another control issue that arose was very similar in nature, leading me to believe that there is some fault somewhere in the control design. Quite frequently I would tap on one side of Alucard only to watch in shock as he would walk in the exact opposite direction.  The end result would often be two unnecessary fights to get back to where I started.  This quickly became my greatest frustration with the game as I am usually pressed for time and would like to make as much progress as quick as I can and avoid any unnecessary combat.

Hints: One of the most frustrating parts of any Casltevania game is when you occasionally get lost when backtracking and retracing your steps in order to find where to go next.  Konami has decided to alleviate this problem by having the Master Librarian give you hints at any given point throughout the game.  However, the Master Librarian’s hints are often incredibly cryptic and/or vague and as a result are almost completely useless.

Castlevania Puzzle: Encore of the Night took me by surprise in many ways.  Having seen so many classic franchises fail miserably when trying to do something a little different, I was initially concerned that making the game a puzzle fighter was a misstep.  Fortunately, Konami obviously took very special care to craft a full (and I mean FULL) Castlevania game for the iDevices with a fresh take because what we received is quite possibly one of the biggest games exclusively made for the iDevices.  While the game is clearly made with longtime Castlevania fans in mind, there is more than enough content for a newcomer to the series to get their feet wet and enjoy.

Castlevania Puzzle: Encore of the Night was developed by Konami Digital Entertainment, and I played through version 1.0.10 on my iPod touch 2G.  The price is $1.99.


‘Ancient Frog’ Now On Sale for $0.99

One of the first and best puzzlers on the App Store, Ancient Frog took everyone by surprise with its completely original and soothing gameplay.  It’s been sitting at the $4.99 price point for a while, but developer Ancient Workshop has decided to finally lower the price to $0.99.

If you’ve been looking to pick this one up, it seems like now is the perfect time.  Ancient Frog is one of the all-time greats that I still have on my iPhone after 2 years, and again, I really suggest anyone and everyone to pick it up.

Ancient Frog is available on the App Store for $0.99.

Finger Physics: Thumb Wars Review: Good luck Sticking to it

Finger Physics was one of the most polished games I could remember, and while the puzzle aspect was a bit difficult, it did get your brain thinking and moving around.  It definitely added some intellectual aspects to my mind after playing kill-em-all in NOVA.

Finger Physics was also wildly popular, gathering up close to a million downloads after being offered for free through FreeAppADay.com’s promotion.  It only makes sense to make a sequel, and I must say the sequel is actually not much different.

The new Finger Physics: Thumb Wars includes the same type of gameplay with the same, somewhat annoying amount of OpenFeint points (about 1 point per achievement).  I wish there also could have been a way to skip the tutorial also, as it takes up almost 20-30 minutes of your time.  Still, the gameplay is challenging like before, and it definitely does keep my brain alert and focused.

Likes

Improved artwork: PressOK Entertainment really knows how to draw and create detailed art, as both Finger Physics and Finger Physics: Thumb Wars contains some of the best artwork I’ve ever seen in a puzzle game.  Finger Physics: Thumb Wars actually looks a whole lot better than before, and the amount of detail and clarity that went into the font, backgrounds, and shapes really impressed.

It’s a challenge: It’s never fun when games are too easy, although there are some instances when they are.  But for this particular case, I would have to say that the challenging aspect of the game will have people actually thinking and not absentmindedly button-mashing.  In a world in which common people aren’t used to thinking, Finger Physics: Thumb Wars gets your brain exercising and moving.

Dislikes

More or less the same: If you didn’t like the first one, you won’t like this one.  Finger Physics: Thumb Wars acts as more of an expansion pack than a true sequel, so many of the level’s objectives are the same.

OpenFeint points: Working for OpenFeint points should gather some good rewards, but in this case, each achievement is only around one point.  That totally takes away from the joy of collecting achievements, and with me trying to gather as many points as possible, Finger Physics: Thumb Wars doesn’t provide enough for me to make achieving achievements worthwhile.

Fails to capture: Playing this game again makes me feel one thing: it fails to capture you.  Replay value is minimal, and over time, you just don’t feel like playing it.  I’m not saying that it’s a bad game or anything; the game is well-designed, the physics are in place, and gameplay elements aren’t too sparse.  Maybe it just isn’t my type of game, but I really don’t see the point of playing this game.

I liked the first one and was looking for some improvement in terms of replay value, but I didn’t exactly get it.  The same, lame OpenFeint achievement points, somewhat repetitive gameplay, and the same types of levels leaves this one a not-so-favorite on my list.  Sure, they upped the graphics and all, but it wasn’t enough to especially wow or amaze me.

Finger Physics: Thumb Wars was developed by PressOK Entertainment, and I played through version 1.0 on my iPhone 4.  The price is $1.99.