Archive for the ‘Word or Number’ Category

New York Times Crossword

Sunday, April 26th, 2009

New York Times Crossword

Widely known as the best pen-and-paper crosswords, the New York Times crosswords have also been made available on the iPhone. Purchasing this app, subscribes you the daily crossword puzzle, as well as, a number of crosswords from previous years. What I’ve learned from this app so far, is that I’m a total dumbass, so hopefully you will fare better than I. A co-worker just informed me that they start easy on Monday and get more difficult by Sunday, which is useful knowledge, and also makes me feel a little better. The core interface is fine, tap to get the “across” word, tap again to get the “down” word. It has intelligent letter-skipping, which is nice, and a mode where you just scroll through a list, which is useful when you have cross-entry clues. I’m not a real crossword buff, but I like this app, and it does everything I would want it to do, apart from solving the puzzle for me and sending me and email telling me I’m a freakin’ genius.

2Doku

Friday, April 3rd, 2009

2Doku

KenKen is a very popular game in Japan and this is a good version. The total of the numbers in a cell grouping has to equal the small number in the upper left and the player must arrive at that total, using the mathematical operator shown. Duplicate numbers are disallowed in each row or column, but are allowed in a cell group. The one shown is easy, but they get much more difficult, as the total number of cells increases. Each puzzle has only one correct solution. The maximum grid size is 6×6, in this implementation, and the game includes over 300 puzzles. There is an advanced version, cleverly titled, Advanced 2Doku, that has puzzles sizes up to 9×9.
Update: A quick-tap button interface was added, the pencil marks were improved, and 30 more puzzles were added. Down a star for not including the advanced puzzles for free or as DLC, so the icon could be shared and springboard space could be halved.

Rating: ★★★☆☆ icon
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PathPix

Monday, March 16th, 2009

PathPix

Apparently, this is based on some Nintendo DS game that everyone has played but me, called PicPic. You draw a path between two matching numbers that matches that number. Wow, that’s poorly worded; just look at the screenshot. The swipe controls are perfect. I’ve only played the first few levels, so I can’t comment on the depth, because it’s been dead-easy so far. The later levels look humongous, though, so I’m sure it will be fine. Not to mention that it provides 169 levels (with the recent update). When you’re done with the puzzle, it turns into a picture, which for me, redefines anti-climactic.

Update: Wow, this game is still on my iPhone months later. I’ve played a bajillion levels now and understand the attraction to the game much better than I did, when I first played it. First of all, it’s relaxing. The feeling of just connecting the dots is so fluid, that the act itself is simply pleasing. Gamers like to be rewarded and, in this game, each swipe rewards you. It is the perfect game to have when you don’t want to strain your brain, but you like the feeling of progress. In addition, the levels do get more challenging. So much so, in fact, that a new title has been released by the same developer, called PathPix Pro (which is a no-brainer, if you like this one, because it provides 300 new puzles). I’m increasing my rating to a 5, due to the longevity of the title and for the calming effect it provides.

Rating: ★★★★★ icon
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Mastersoft Kakuro

Tuesday, March 10th, 2009

Mastersoft Kakuro

Kakuro is game that originated in Japan and it is billed as “Sudoku’s big brother”, with good reason. It’s basically a crossword puzzle using numbers. Each column and row is preceded by a number, which is the sum of the numbers that the corresponding column or row will contain. The player’s job is to full in all of the missing numbers, using pure logic. No number can be used twice in the same run (or section). It’s a great game and this iPhone implementation provides a number of features that are quite useful and sometimes necessary, such as potential candidate entry, breadcrumbs, and color-coding. The game is wildly popular in Japan and I see no reason why it couldn’t become popular here, unless as a people, we’re just too stupid.

Update: While I’m still a big fan of Kakuro and I love the features this version includes, the further I got into it, the less I like the Mastersoft’s puzzle design. I much prefer the design of the Kakuro puzzles included in Gameloft’s Platinum Sudoku (which is no longer available in the App Store, AFAIK) and Kakuro Mania. Rating lowered accordingly.

Color Drops

Saturday, March 7th, 2009

Color Drops

This is a polished and fun Match-3 title that adds a number-match component.

Update: I enjoyed it, but it started to feel pointless at the higher levels, because it is hard to lose. Down a Star for allowing a degenerative strategy, the details of which I won’t mention, because it ruins the game.

Rating: ★★★☆☆ icon
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