Tangrams – The Ancient Chinese Logic Puzzles Come to the iPhone and iPod Touch! But which is “better”?

tangrampro10First, why don’t I explain what exactly a Tangram puzzle is.  In a Tangram puzzle, you have a shape.  This shape is actually comprised of a group of other shapes.  In Tangram, you have seven pieces:  Two large triangles, two small triangles, one medium triangle, a square, and a strange slanted rectangle piece.  The key is to place and rotate these seven pieces until they form the shape that you’re looking for.  So, now that you’re in the loop, let’s get to the review!

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Tangram Puzzle Pro

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TanZen

My fellow Touch My Apps reviewer Dave P has already reviewed TanZen, and you can check that out here. I originally came upon Tangram Puzzle Pro on the App Store when it was free and fell in love.  I quickly became addicted.  My friend Mark and I would sit there and just play Tangram after Tangram after Tangram.  It’s easy to play and lots of fun!

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Later, after becoming thoroughly hooked on Tangrams and quickly running out of puzzles to play, I sought out another Tangram app. Lo and behold! TanZen is also right there in the app store! While I did have to pay for it, I was more than happy to to acquire more Tangrams to solve!

I’m not going to go too deep into how you play the games, as they’re pretty much the same. You touch the piece of your choice and drag it to the proper place. Then you use the circle surrounding the piece to spin it into the position that fits best.

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Both apps work the same way and pretty much look the same too. So, why don’t we just get down to business and do some comparing?

I personally prefer Tangram Puzzle Pro. Here’s why:

In Tangram Puzzle Pro, the pieces all snap into place and rotate smoothly into the appropriate positions. It’s really easy to tell if you have the piece in the right place, because the piece will totally fill up that space, or not. In Tanzen, the pieces still have some wriggle room, and you have to rotate the piece perfectly to make it fit properly.

Another point for Tangram Puzzle Pro goes to the indication of two pieces overlapping. Frankly, it’s much more obvious. In Tangram Puzzle Pro, the overlapping pieces become red, showing you plain and simple “wrong”, whereas in TanZen, a little icon in the top left corner indicates it, and it’s just not as straightforward and easy to tell. These are just little things, but they make the difference for the avid Tangram player.

They have about the same number of puzzles, and are both constantly being updated with more. All these points to Tangram Puzzle Pro, TanZen does have a couple little advantages. One is the ‘Masters Mode’. In ‘Masters Mode’, instead of dropping the pieces onto the shape you are forming, you only have a small picture of the shape to work with. From that small picture, you have to put your pieces together on blank canvas to make the little shape in the corner. TanZen also has Hints and the ability to choose your piece colour. One other minor advantage is having all your pieces ready right away. In Tangram Puzzle Pro, you have to drag them out of the drawer at the bottom or shake up your device to release them onto the board.

Graphically and musically they’re on par with each other, and while TanZen has those extra little features, it’s all about the gameplay and the superiority that Tangram Puzzle Pro has in dragging and rotating pieces makes all the difference in the experience.

If you’re looking for the “better” Tangram game, this reviewer’s opinion is that Tangram Puzzle Pro is a better play, but if you’re like me and you just can’t get enough Tangrams, get them both! (There’re lite versions for you to try too!)

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