Thursday, 7 March 2013

Review: Perplexagon for iPhone and iPad

Perplexagon is an interesting free puzzle game for iPhone and iPad that you've never heard of.
I downloaded it some time ago, and initially I didn't like it much, but it grew on me after getting used to the quirks of the user interface.
Designed by Nathan Lindquist, a physics professor, Perplexagon is a sequential movement and color matching puzzle that revolves around polygons. Or the other way around...
The playing area consists of two or more regular polygons, with a variable number of sides, connected to one another by a side. Each polygon is divided into colored triangles.
To make a move, you touch a polygon and swipe. This causes it to swivel around a vertex until it touches another polygon. If the triangles that touched have the same color, they turn black. The goal is to make all triangles black.
There's a total of 30 levels, which must be solved in order.
Interestingly,  the "par" indicated by the game for each puzzle doesn't seem to be the optimal number of moves: as you can see in the list, I solved a few in a smaller number of moves.
To proceed to the next level, you must solve the puzzle in no more than par+5 moves.
Solving the puzzles requires some thought, to ensure that as you turn the polygons the triangles line up with the right color. In some puzzles there's a reduced number of colors, which actually seems to make things harder, because you need to figure out which sides are supposed to match in order to reach the optimal solution.
The main problem with this game is the user interface. For some reason, often the swipes are not correctly detected, and you end up doing a different move from what you intended. Since there is no undo functionality, when that happens the only thing you can do is restart the puzzle.
Additionally, there is a counterintuitive feature where if you touch the background, the whole cluster of polygons moves in that direction. I triggered that many times with accidental touches, and then tried to reposition the cluster by dragging it—which doesn't work, and triggers moves intead. This was very frustrating until I figured it out.

I think the controls need to be made more user friendly. You should be able to simply touch and drag a polygon to see how it rotates, and be able to put the polygon back on its starting position without committing the move. Also, the cluster should just be automatically centered without need for user adjustments.

Support for high resolution displays and a colorblind-friendly color scheme would be most welcome.

I really like the mechanics of this puzzle, which are original and require some serious thinking. It's free, so definitely it's worth a try; but if the user interface and the presentation were improved, it'd become a lot more enjoyable.

Update 08/03/2013: Nathan Lindquist kindly answered to this review, promising to revise the user interface in a future update. Thanks Nathan!

Summary

Nontrivialness★★★★☆
Logical Reasoning★★★★☆
User Interface★★☆☆☆
Presentation★☆☆☆☆
Loading Time★★★★★
Saves Partial Progress
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©2013 Nicola Salmoria. Unauthorized use and/or duplication without express and written permission is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Nicola Salmoria and nontrivialgames.blogspot.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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