Showing posts from September, 2013

Review: Help Me Fly for iPhone and iPad

Help Me Fly by Funtomic is a casual puzzle game whose difficulty level pleasantly surprised me.
The primary goal of the game is to rearrange the position of the red pieces, forming a continuous path from the battery to the plane. The secondary goal is to also connect the path to the stars (the number of stars changes from puzzle to puzzle). When you solve a puzzle, you get a nice animation of the plane flying away in circles.

Normally the pieces can only be dragged around; the pieces with an arrow on them can also be rotated.

Finding a route to the plane is easy enough, but also connecting all the stars required me several attempts in many cases. The solutions are elusive, possibly also for psychological reasons. For example in the puzzle pictured above, laying down a path to either the star or the plane is trivial, but to connect both of them you always seem to be one cell short, until you figure out that you are approaching the puzzle from the wrong direction.

The game currently contain…

SoulJar Meeting 9/20/13

Just got off the phone with the SoulJar Team (Team SoulJar?!) for our weekly conference call. Previously, we'd only done these things bi-weekly, mostly because we don't really like talking to each other. But as things have begun to progress, we've had to move them to weekly. We discussed a lot of things.

1) We finalized our GenCon '14 plans. We already have rooms, and we're working to secure booth space. We decided on a plan of action and allocated a budget for a booth. I still have one last meeting before I can say categorically that we're going in an official capacity (as opposed to just wandering around). But we're one step closer to attending the con. I hope Indianapolis lays in a sufficient supply of gin.

2) We're working on a plan for the re-release of the Cairn Bicycle-brand Playing Card Kickstarter. It's going to be dialed up to 11, because that's why they put an 11 on the dial. Alyssa is working on that, and we have a meeting scheduled fo…

A Peek Behind the Curtain

I have two consecutive days off from the "day job," which is pretty rare. So, in honor of the event, I'm going to start the day with a blog. I lead an exciting life, no? Yesterday was also the 25th anniversary of the release of "A Little Respect," so I may be rocking out to Erasure today. It's hard not to be happy when you're listening to Erasure.... I can see by a quick scan of the blog that I've promised to write a bit about SoulJar Games as a group, an endeavor, and (shall I say it?) a movement.

Okay. That was a little pretentious.

SoulJar Games grew organically out of our work processes for the past year. I "met" Alyssa Faden while working as the line editor for Nystul's Infinite Dungeon (yes, that book is coming out via D3 Adventures). Alyssa drew the maps, so I ended up working closely with her on the design. Eventually, she asked me to line edit her miniature boardgame, Torn Armor. In the meantime, I'd reconnected with jim pin…

Away Too Long...

I'm sitting here at the SoulJar Games corporate world headquarters, gazing out at my spectacular view of Central Park and contemplating the vicissitudes of life.... I've been away too long, and to be honest it's because I had no idea I hadn't posted an update in two weeks. You have my apologies. In this, the Wired World, I forget that often no information is seen as, well, no information; I forget that nowadays one has to remain in constant contact with people. Also, this new job is kicking my butt.

However, let me state categorically that just because you haven't heard from me in two weeks that somehow I've gone away, that SoulJar Games has gone away, or that the Cairn RPG has gone away. We're all still here. So, let's talk update.

First, the Cairn playing cards did not fund. While we're not discouraged, I must say I'm a tad confused about why this occurred. Either way, we're going to relaunch the Kickstarter in two weeks, with added pledge l…

Review: Strata for iPhone and iPad

Strata by Graveck is enjoying good success on the App Store, having reached the #1 place in the US and other countries. That's well deserved since it looks and sounds great, and it plays well. But is it a good logic puzzle?
Unfortunately, I'm afraid it's not. There is a completely mechanical way to solve all the puzzle. But let's see the rules first.

You play on a square grid. On the grid there are some colored squares.
By tapping on the empty squares along the side, you make ribbons slide over the grid. Every ribbon is placed on top of the ones already on the grid. Eventually, every cell of the grid will be covered by two orthogonal ribbons. Your goal is to make every colored square match the color of the top ribbon covering it. So one solution for the above puzzle would be this one:
Playing has a relaxing feeling, which I guess could be similar to actual weaving.

The puzzles are split across 5 sets; the first 3 are free, the other two must be unlocked using two separate i…

Review: Escapology for iPhone and iPad

Escapology by Hyperbolic Magnetism boasts in its App Store description that it was completed in 3 days. While this is a remarkable achievement, I think that it could have benefited from a bit more time spent in design.
The basic puzzle mechanics aren't new, but the way how they are presented caught my attention.
Think of the play area as a room viewed from above. When you slide your finger across the screen, the floor slides by one step in the same direction. This is made apparent by the checkerboard tile pattern.

When the floor moves, the balls move with it. Balls are the only objects that actually move; the square blocks, and the striped area indicating the goal, stay fixed in place. The objective of each puzzle is to move all balls over the striped areas. Since the balls move all at the same time, you need to make use of the other objects to prevent some of them from moving in unwanted directions.
The only two additional objects I've seen are arrows, which can only be travvelled…

Review: FlowDoku for iPhone and iPad

Just when you thought that Sudoku had been beaten to death, here comes FlowDoku by HapaFive Games, which turns the concept on its head to produce an excitingly original new puzzle.
To be clear, the only thing this game shares with Sudoku is the basic premise of placing symbols on a grid so that certain requirements are met on every row, column, and box. That's pretty much the end of similarities.

In Sudoku you have 9 different symbols, which must not be repeated; in FlowDoku, you have a smaller number of symbols, some of which must be repeated a given number of times.
The second rule is the stroke of genius: the symbols that appear multiple times in a box, must be next to each other.
This second rule makes the solving strategies very different from Sudoku, and allows for a great variety of logic deductions.

At the beginning of each puzzle you have a number of givens; it goes without saying that there is only one way to fill the grid following the rules. So e.g. you need to get from thi…

Play Unplugged Gencon interview with Daisy at Wargames Factory

A nice shout out and preview of the Mortis and 15mm/1:100 scale Crusader.