Primrose in Review – A Different Kind of Puzzler

primrose1It’s a difficult task to create a game that is unlike any others you’ve played. This is especially true in the field of puzzlers. The countless tetris, snood, word puzzles, sudoku, match 3s, tangrams, and so forth have countless clones and knockoffs that make it difficult to separate one from another. This is where Primrose stands strong. It provides a puzzler gameplay experience unlike any other.

From the developer’s site:

Primrose’s gameplay is deceptively simple: You’re given random pairs of colored tiles that you must place on a 7×7 grid. When you surround a group of one color with another color, the surrounded group clears, scoring points. The surrounding tiles flip to the color of the tiles that were cleared. When tiles flip color, chain reactions are possible. Larger groups and longer chain reactions are awarded more points.

As the game progresses, more colors are added to the pool, making the grid more and more constrained. Pressure builds until the grid finally fills up, and the game ends.

primrose3The gameplay follows those simple rules. On the bottom of the screen is a color pairing as well as a list of the next few colors that are on queue. When you touch one of the squares on the 7×7 grid, the first color is placed. You then have to place the next color in any open squares on along the same x or y axis within the grid. There is no timer, so you can proceed at your leisure.

This simplicity of gameplay belies the depth of strategy and the high difficulty level of Primrose. The intentional and pre-planned flipping of colors adds just the right amount challenge and difficulty that separates the novices from the real pros… and let me just say, I am a novice. If you plan your moves correctly, you can create a chain reaction involving the flipping of colors to stack up your points to the millions. This is no small feat, but involves a true grasp of the mechanics of Primrose, the ability to foresee steps ahead, and a dash of luck.

primrose4One of the aspects of the game that is doing much to help me grasp the intricacies of Primrose is, oddly enough, the Global Leaderboard. Jason Rohrer (the developer of this game) has created the best Leaderboard I’ve seen in any game in the puzzle genre. When connected online, you are treated to the top 8 all time highscores and the top 8 highscores of the day. While this is standard, it is the conspicuous PLAY buttons next to the scores that really enhance this feature.

You are able to watch, step-by-step, how each person gained their score. You can, at your leisure, examine the strategies and seek to understand the deep inner workings of these masterful players.

primrose5The ability to play your own music while still maintaining the sound effects, the retro vector-esque graphics, and a decent Instructions set are all added to make this a game for serious puzzlers. If you want a unique, deep, and highly challenging game, then I highly encourage you to buy Primrose and skimp out on your Latte of the day. It’ll be worth it. For those of you who just want a time waster that will not challenge you in any way, then this is not for you. Primrose is definitely for the serious.


App Summary
Title: Primrose (v5.0) Developer: Jason Rohrer
Price: $2.99 App Size: 0.2 MB
  • Unique Gameplay
  • Global Leaderboard
  • Play Your Own Music
  • May be too Challenging for
  • Casual Gamers
  • Steep Learning Curve


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