Puzzlings in Review – Addiction in Game Form

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I’ve made my current interest in puzzle games known in my previous reviews, and I’m willing to try lots of different puzzlers in my quest to find one that feeds those necessary qualities to really keep me coming back for more. Azkend and Aurora Fient almost did it – they’re both fantastic games – but Puzzlings uses the “gotta collect ‘em all” mentality to ensure it digs its claws into you and keeps you hooked.

When you fist start Puzzlings, you’re given a little background into Wardrobia, the world in which your character exists. It was a bland place, but you’re on a mission to spruce things up – by beating puzzles and collecting colorful clothes and accessories which you can use to change your character’s appearance.

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And I’m not going to downplay it – the collecting aspect is a major part of the game, and also one of the most fun. I’ll liken the collecting aspect to the recent Nintendo DS Zelda game (where you search for ship parts) or catching all the Pokemon in those games. It’s addicting – you want to go back and replay stages to see if you can pick up some more items for your character to wear.

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More than that, you’ll probably spend plenty of time in your character’s house, choosing new and different looks for him/her. You can change the color of just about anything you collect, offering up so many variations that you could never possibly get through them all. And when you find a “look” you like, you can take a picture using the in-game camera, which puts the picture into your iDevice’s Photos app. There are other options available in your house, including checking on your status with each puzzle, directions for playing the game, the ability to reset, seeing your trophies, etc.

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But of course, the rest of the game is devoted to the puzzle aspect. Once you leave your home, you’ll see the world map made of up of 8 levels or areas. Each area is made up of 5 stages, with each stage being a puzzle. In some ways, each puzzle is a typical match 3 (or more) – with pieces falling down to fill in the holes as you do so. But in other ways, Puzzlings has done a nice job of adding new things to the mix here as well. These themed areas will each introduce new concepts into the basic puzzle, like additional colored pieces or pieces of varying sizes.

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You can also swap any tile with any other in a row, and you can rotate tiles by creating a box around them in squares of 4 or more. You’ll need to become familiar with rotating, as it’ll become necessary to align the larger pieces. Once you’ve cleared enough of the tiles, a broken round token will appear on the puzzle screen. You’ll need to align these pieces to complete the circle, which will win you one accessory for your character. You need to get two tokens for the first three puzzles in each area, to clear that particular level. And if you go at a fast enough speed, you will receive a third accessory for each of those puzzles, and a star will indicate on the map screen that you’ve completely cleared that level.

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The last two levels in each area are variations on the standard puzzle. The first is a longer version of the previous levels, with 5 tokens to be collected. At this point I should also mention that there is a timer inherent in each level, and your character will look more and more tired as time runs out. As you make matches, time gets added, but if you take too long, you’ll fail the board – so of course, the longer the level (such as this type, where you need to get 5 tokens) the harder you have to work to survive. And while it might be easy to get a quick match three, you have to spend more time to work at setting up chains of clearing tiles – because chains are the only way to get through the puzzles fast enough to earn those speed accessories.

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Finally, the last puzzle type has you trying to just clear the tiles on the board in as few moves as possible. This puzzle type reminds me of the Aurora Feint Tower Puzzles, which was probably my favorite part of that game. Here, the fewer moves it takes to clear the board, the more prizes you receive.

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There’s very little I can think of that can be seen as a negative for perspective players. Some may find the puzzles somewhat easy, and I suppose you can get through most of them by doing simple quick matching – though the difficulty definitely ramps up in later areas. And should you want to have more than one character, Puzzlings doesn’t allow that at present – the one character is all you can have. But really, I can’t more highly recommend Puzzlings; it’s colorful graphics, fantastic gameplay, engaging puzzles and the whole collecting aspect are so well done that it’s immediately become one of my favorite games. If you enjoy puzzle games that give you incentives to keep playing, you should pick this up right away – you won’t be disappointed. I give it TMA’s highest rating:

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App Summary
Title:Puzzlings (v1.0.1)Developer:Sonic BOOM, Inc.
Price:$2.99App Size:17.1 MB
  • Collecting incentives to keep playing
  • Multiple puzzle types and a variety of challenges
  • Unlimited personalization of your character
  • Wonderfully cheerful graphics
  • Early levels may be too easy
  • Inability to have multiple characters

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  • Shinatty-Chan

    The game is now offered for free on the App Store.

    It’s a great game, though it’s not as challenging as I expected. (I cleared all the areas, save for the puzzle houses, within 3 days) Personally, I’m not a big fan of puzzle games, but Puzzlings is reminiscent of one of my favorite puzzle games, “Bejeweled”. The real challenge in Puzzlings are the puzzle levels, really. Most of the other areas and levels are easy breezy.

  • Me!!

    I know what you mean shinatty-chan. Wait a minute. I just looked at your name…do you watch hetalia? I bet you do. It’s epic.

    I beat all the levels, with gold stars, except for 2 puzzle houses, and I’ve only had the game for less than 36 hours. I’m just that skilled. Yup.

    I’ve been completely addicted to this game, but I can’t get gold on the 6th and 7th puzzle houses, even though I got the 8th on the first try. I’m having issues.

    Whenever new block colours or shapes were introduced, I was just: What? But you just added another one last time!!

  • Shinatty-Chan

    Ha ha, yes, I do watch/read Hetalia. I’m going to be possibly cosplaying Lithuania at Otakon 2010.

    Yeah, I got all the gold coins in about an an hour or so after I had unlocked all of the levels…

    I had my mom beat some of the puzzle houses because she’s good at those.

  • Felicia

    I bought this game this morning and have been playing it on and off since 11. Just finishes it now :D So cute!

  • Puzzlings Player

    I’M UNABLE TO COMPLETE THE FINAL PUZZLE STAGE
    PLEASE TELL ME HOW?
    I’VE ALREADY DONE THE REST AND ITS MY LAST ONE ><

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