Pathpix

Are you ever struck with the need to connect dots? Some of you may have heard of the game Flow, where you are tasked with connecting the same color dots in a grid to complete the puzzle. Imagine if you could solve a puzzle like that, zoom out and find that a picture has been created out of all the dots you have connected. Pathpix is this game.

When you start a puzzle there is a large grid with different colored dots with numbers scattered throughout it. The numbers are the amount of tiles your path must take up on its way to its twin. For example a green 6 must have path 6 tiles long connecting it to another green 6. To make things a little harder they introduce red walls to stop you from going certain directions. As you complete these paths you can see that when you zoom out a pixel art image is being formed. This makes completing the puzzle a much more rewarding experience.

IMG_1184           Pathpix2           IMG_1187

The learning curve is quick, you start with a laughable 16×16 puzzle but after a while you will be ready to take on the most daunting of 64×64 murals. This game feels great to play. There is a point when you get good enough that your mind thinks in Pathpix; you see the numbers on the screen and connect them with the speed of a professional typist, knowing exactly where to go. It’s almost therapeutic and I’m not joking when I say that after a long session of play you will be connecting those dots in your head and could even end up dreaming about them. Talk about a game getting in your head.

Another great thing about Pathpix is that realistically you will probably never run out of puzzles to do. The first version of the game that I played was Pathpix Pro, which had a whopping 300 puzzles to complete. If you do complete all of these don’t fret as there are six other Pathpix titles, from Pathpix Zen to their holiday themed Pathpix Xmas each with a unique set of puzzles.

The Good:

  • Tons of puzzles
  • Satisfying and almost therapeutic gameplay
  • You can admire the neat pictures you made

The Bad

  • Almost all of the games cost money
  • It can get into your head

Rating

8/10

Pathpix is a satisfying puzzler, which defines its own genre of pixel art games. I would be thoroughly impressed if you could finish them all.

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Bubble Witch 2 Saga

From the makers of Candy Crush, here’s your latest iteration of mobile crack cocaine. Bubble Witch Saga 2 is proof that King has perfected the process of creating hopeless app addicts.

Step 1

Revamp an old game that most people are familiar with. Just as Candy Crush was a sugary knock off of Bejeweled, Bubble Witch is that oldie where you shoot colored balls at other colored balls. You can bounce them off the walls or the top, but the goal is to eliminate all the balls by making monochromatic strings of three or more. No one knows the origin of this game. I first saw it on a Hoyle card games cd-rom for Windows 98, it went by Racer Tracer back then and you can be sure it wasn’t the first of it’s kind.

bubble 2

Step 2

Combine impossible levels with limited tries. This is where King clearly invested in R&D. Their scientists have somehow formulated the perfected arrangement of easy and hard levels so that as soon as your confidence is high and the game is fun, you hit the level that cannot be beaten. You know it can’t be beaten because you’ve tried a hundred times. You waste your five lives and then wait the thirty five minutes for more lives. And then you get impatient so you shed your shame and ask all your Facebook friends to get the game so you can wallow in the addiction together and send each other lives. Finally, the scientists step in again because they know your breaking point. When the sane part of your mind decides, “this is the last game, I’m quitting forever if I don’t win this game,” by some divine intervention the balls fall into place and you are allowed to move on to the easy levels that rebuild your confidence. Now that you’ve afflicted all your friends with the curse, the cycle starts over.

Step 3

Create some cutesy, colorful theme that appeals to wide audiences. The game itself is enough to keep you playing, but bright colors and obnoxious characters are necessary to attract the target audiences. Who cares about the theme anyway? My mom does, because she likes to empathize with the cute young witch. And my baby cousin who can’t talk, but somehow owns an iPad, needs to save the puppies from the scary bubbles. Brilliant marketing by King, knowing that my mom’s disposable income and lack of Facebook are the perfect combo for unnecessary in-app spending on additional lives.

The Good

  • Enough levels to keep you busy
  • Classic gameplay that combines skill and luck
  • You get to feel like a little girl playing a girly girl game

The Bad

  • Limited lives means you can’t binge
  • You get to feel like a little girl playing a girly girl game

Rating

4/10

I would wholeheartedly recommend you don’t get this game. But I would have said the same thing about Candy Crush and we all know how big that game got. It’s simple and addicting and anyone can play it. The theme makes me want to puke, but to each his own, I guess.

-Kenny

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Blendoku

Def. Blendoku (noun) – a colorful puzzle game – of the latin “Blend” and Japanese “Sudoku” 

Blendoku is a puzzle game similar to sudoku, but rather than placing numbers into boxes you’re placing different colors. You are provided a few preplaced squares , but you must fill in the rest from a color bank so that the end result is a gradient from color to color to color. Five hundred levels means the game has a healthy shelf life, and varying degrees of difficulty will keep all but the trained artist challenged.

Blendoku Level

Blendoku is prime for your short wait situations: standing at the bus stop, waiting for your water to boil, or that awkward elevator ride with the guy who starts terrible chit chat if you look up from your phone for an instant. Easy levels shouldn’t take more than thirty seconds while the hard levels have taken me up to five minutes. Don’t feel too proud of yourself when you fly through the first fifty stages, soon enough you’ll be facing thirteen indiscernible shades of brown and a headache. Depending how generous you’re feeling, this game could be termed “educational”. Do you have any idea what the mix of teal and maroon looks like? I do. Thanks, Blendoku, for my first art lesson since the fourth grade.
If somehow you manage to defeat this game and are hungry for more palette mixing, download Bendoku. Made by the same two guys behind Blendoku, it’s their Benjamin Moore sponsored revamp. Same game, new levels, shameless corporate advertising.

The Good

  • Bountiful levels
  • Varying difficulty
  • Beautiful colors

The Bad

  • Some levels are repetitive
  • Master levels are difficult on a phone screen (intended for tablet)

Rating 

6/10

Simple, creative, thoughtful. A puzzle game that doesn’t demand much but will keep the user entertained.

-Kenny

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