From A To B in Review – It’s Not Always A Straight Line

Most puzzle games that revolve around trains deal with you trying to keep the trains from crashing.  In From A to B, however, the trains are merely the main obstacle.  Your goal is to get a single car from point A to point B without it crashing or running out of fuel.  While I’ve struggled to get into many of the “don’t crash the train” puzzle games, I’ve found this one quite intriguing so far.  It’s certainly one of the most challenging ones that I’ve played to date, and I love the fact that it relies on careful ingenuity, and not your ability to beat a clock by chucking random parts on a track, in order to truly be victorious.

The game contains 90 levels, and the goal of each is identical: get your car from A to B.  All the obstacles are in place and ready to take out your car whenever possible.  The only thing missing is the most vital component for you – the road for your car to drive on.  That’s where you come in.  Your job is to lay down the road in such a way that the car can get safely between the two points.  There is a free play mode that allows you to use as much asphalt as you need, but I haven’t tried that yet, as I prefer the challenge of puzzle mode with its limited number of pieces.  Because of this limit you are usually confined to one solution, but to me that makes it more fun.  Generally speaking, if you haven’t used all the pieces, you haven’t found a solution.

There are two methods for laying down pieces of road.  The first is to select the road type you want and click the grid for each space where you want that piece of road to go.  On the other hand, as long as you have a piece of road selected you can just drag your finger around the playing area.  This method is not nearly as responsive or accurate as I’d like, but when it does work it’s pretty amazing how it utilizes the entire context of already laid parts and directional movement to determine what to place next.  If I choose to use the drag method at all, I find it to be a preliminary effort only, and almost always have to go back and tweak the road for the finer points.

Once you have the road laid out you can start the action, and generally watch your car crash and burn the first time.  On some levels you’ll go through many trials before finding the one that gets you safely from point A to B and allows you to accomplish your secondary goal, which is to collect all three stars that appear on the level.  You don’t have to get all the stars to advance to the next level, but it does give you reason to come back to certain levels once you’ve completed the game.  The main additions to the interface that would be helpful are a fast forward button and a “clear all” button.  On the plus side, should you need to leave a level for some reason, you can pick up right where you left off next time around.  You can also play Free Play and Puzzle modes independently and simultaneously, which is a nice feature.

The graphics are simple but effective.  Everything is easily discernible, and the interface is nice and clean, though the area that you select the pieces from does get a bit congested on the iPhone.  There are no flashy effects except for the car bursting into flames if it hits something, and that’s not even really that flashy.  The sound effects are just as basic.  In the levels I’ve played so far, the main noises are the car and trains chugging along.  The one thing the game really needs in the aesthetic department is some background music.  It doesn’t have to be fancy, but some melodic sound would be nice.

If you crave the relatively fast paced action of a game like Angry Birds, this probably isn’t for you.  However, if you like games that challenge you to study your mistakes and make adjustments based on reasoning more so than blind luck, From A To B is the game for you.  The best part of this puzzler is that it’s not always the complex looking boards that provide the most challenge.  You never know what you’re going to be up against, and it keeps you pushing to make it to future levels.  And as an added bonus, one of the achievements is for wrecking your car 50 times.  Now there’s an achievement I can easily earn!

Grab It Rating - 4/5

App Summary
Title: From A to BDeveloper: Christian Fudge
Reviewed Ver:2.2Min OS Req:3.0
Price:$0.99App Size:7.4 MB
  • Very thoughtful, logical game
  • Quite challenging
  • Lots of levels
  • Slower pace
  • Early levels can be daunting
  • No music

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