Category Archives: Good bang for the buck

Tri It! Triangle Puzzle

The game play for Tri It is simple and pretty ingenious. The game board is a shape divided into a bunch of triangles of the same shape. Equilateral perhaps? The game piece is 1 or 2 triangles positioned somewhere on that board. The easier puzzles start with one triangle – Your objective is to move the triangle to another place on the board by “flipping” it along one of its sides. You keep doing this until the triangle ends up at the goal. This is interesting because the movement isn’t intuitive…you can’t just follow a straight line. Additional challenge is introduced by having barriers between certain places on the board, more than one triangle (all of which are affected by each swipe), having “transporter” places, different colored triangles, or having “enemy” triangles that you have to move out of the way (in the same manner). If you like this type of game, I think it’s pretty innovative and worth a look.

Survival Score: A couple dozen levels before it was too difficult for me

Tri It! Triangle Puzzle

The game play for Tri It is simple and pretty ingenious. The game board is a shape divided into a bunch of triangles of the same shape. Equilateral perhaps? The game piece is 1 or 2 triangles positioned somewhere on that board. The easier puzzles start with one triangle – Your objective is to move the triangle to another place on the board by “flipping” it along one of its sides. You keep doing this until the triangle ends up at the goal. This is interesting because the movement isn’t intuitive…you can’t just follow a straight line. Additional challenge is introduced by having barriers between certain places on the board, more than one triangle (all of which are affected by each swipe), having “transporter” places, different colored triangles, or having “enemy” triangles that you have to move out of the way (in the same manner). If you like this type of game, I think it’s pretty innovative and worth a look.

Survival Score: A couple dozen levels before it was too difficult for me

Train Defense

his game is sort of like a tower defense game except you don’t have towers, you have a train engine with one car, and you use your finger to lay down tracks to travel along. If you run out of track, you just sit still until you make more tracks. So, the game board has passengers to pick up on the left of the screen, and you drop them off on the right. Plus, a big ol’ water tower in the middle you need to go around. Simple enough. Yes, but then bad, bad vehicles start moving in, to steal your water or to shoot you. Did I mention that your train car has a turret on top? Luckily, you don’t have to aim, you just have to get close enough and it shoots on its own. You have a certain amount of life points. Once those are gone, the game is over. When you deliver passengers, you get “money,” which you can use to upgrade your weapons and add train cars, and so forth. Unfortunately, I haven’t figured out how to get them attached. I think that’s just because I haven’t played enough. I get a little stressed out, so I only play a bit at a time.

Survival Score: Fun, in short bursts

Train Defense

his game is sort of like a tower defense game except you don’t have towers, you have a train engine with one car, and you use your finger to lay down tracks to travel along. If you run out of track, you just sit still until you make more tracks. So, the game board has passengers to pick up on the left of the screen, and you drop them off on the right. Plus, a big ol’ water tower in the middle you need to go around. Simple enough. Yes, but then bad, bad vehicles start moving in, to steal your water or to shoot you. Did I mention that your train car has a turret on top? Luckily, you don’t have to aim, you just have to get close enough and it shoots on its own. You have a certain amount of life points. Once those are gone, the game is over. When you deliver passengers, you get “money,” which you can use to upgrade your weapons and add train cars, and so forth. Unfortunately, I haven’t figured out how to get them attached. I think that’s just because I haven’t played enough. I get a little stressed out, so I only play a bit at a time.

Survival Score: Fun, in short bursts

Amazing Breaker HD

There are many, many levels of this game. I stopped playing after several dozen. I was going to stop earlier, except that the best part of each level is the very beginning, when you get get to see what the image will be for that level. The images are incredible — clever, imaginative, beautifully illustrated. The idea is that they are made out of ice (or glass, I suppose), and you fling different things at them, which then explode, destroying part of the image. The object of the game is to blow up the entire image. You can play each level over as many times as you need too — I got most of the levels on one try (the apple was a real trick, though). The levels are actually pretty easy overall, and it’s a non-violent target game, which makes it great for kids.

Survival score: A very pleasurable couple of hours

Amazing Breaker HD

There are many, many levels of this game. I stopped playing after several dozen. I was going to stop earlier, except that the best part of each level is the very beginning, when you get get to see what the image will be for that level. The images are incredible — clever, imaginative, beautifully illustrated. The idea is that they are made out of ice (or glass, I suppose), and you fling different things at them, which then explode, destroying part of the image. The object of the game is to blow up the entire image. You can play each level over as many times as you need too — I got most of the levels on one try (the apple was a real trick, though). The levels are actually pretty easy overall, and it’s a non-violent target game, which makes it great for kids.

Survival score: A very pleasurable couple of hours

Scramble

I can’t help myself when it comes to Boggle-type games. When they are against the computer, I have to delete the game after about a week because I play them endlessly, like I’m addicted to them. In fact, it’s exactly like an addiction. Scramble I haven’t had to delete because i can’t play endlessly for hours on end. It’s like having a friend say “you’ve had enough, give me your keys, you’re not driving.”

This Zynga game sets you up with 3-round matches against real people (or amazingly life-like bots), or your own friends from facebook. But each game costs a token. You can use different power-ups (my favorites are freeze for extra time and vision that suggests additional words), and these too cost tokens. The tokens accumulate over time, but you can only have a certain maximum number, and when they are gone you have to wait for them to accumulate again. Well, you could buy more, but I’m not THAT much of an addict. I bought the paid version, which allows a higher maximum and which accumulates tokens more quickly. There is also a limit to how many 3-round matches you can have going at once (somewhere around 20 or so). And you have to wait for the other person to take their turn before it comes back to you. So, all of those things make this a much safer game for me!

Zynga keeps track of my scores and offers to find a random opponent who generally scores in your same range. I’ve found this to be generally satisfying, with some opponents a little better than me, and some a little worse. And more than a few where we are evenly matched. There are a couple of mismatches, but I usually resign those after the first round.

The dictionary is pretty good. The interface is not built for iPad, but it’s ok. And the letters have different points like in Scrabble, which adds a layer of strategy. Survival score: Immortal

Scramble

I can’t help myself when it comes to Boggle-type games. When they are against the computer, I have to delete the game after about a week because I play them endlessly, like I’m addicted to them. In fact, it’s exactly like an addiction. Scramble I haven’t had to delete because i can’t play endlessly for hours on end. It’s like having a friend say “you’ve had enough, give me your keys, you’re not driving.”

This Zynga game sets you up with 3-round matches against real people (or amazingly life-like bots), or your own friends from facebook. But each game costs a token. You can use different power-ups (my favorites are freeze for extra time and vision that suggests additional words), and these too cost tokens. The tokens accumulate over time, but you can only have a certain maximum number, and when they are gone you have to wait for them to accumulate again. Well, you could buy more, but I’m not THAT much of an addict. I bought the paid version, which allows a higher maximum and which accumulates tokens more quickly. There is also a limit to how many 3-round matches you can have going at once (somewhere around 20 or so). And you have to wait for the other person to take their turn before it comes back to you. So, all of those things make this a much safer game for me!

Zynga keeps track of my scores and offers to find a random opponent who generally scores in your same range. I’ve found this to be generally satisfying, with some opponents a little better than me, and some a little worse. And more than a few where we are evenly matched. There are a couple of mismatches, but I usually resign those after the first round.

The dictionary is pretty good. The interface is not built for iPad, but it’s ok. And the letters have different points like in Scrabble, which adds a layer of strategy. Survival score: Immortal

Glowfish

As I’m playing this game, my husband leans over and after a few seconds says “sometimes you play the most beautiful games.” And Glowfish is beautiful. After playing the free version, where you get a couple of levels to try out, I put it on my wish list and snagged it when it was on sale. You control a fishy-swimmy-thingy that swims–glides, really–through all sorts of underwater caverns defeating baddies and picking up little wayward tadpole-ish friends that got lost from their homes. The artwork is gorgeous, the game play is fluid, and there are enough save points that if you want to stop during a level, you can. You can replay a level pretty easily, and the game tells you at the end of each level how many friends, coins, and secret areas you found (and didn’t find), so you can decide if you want to try again. Survival score: Countless hours, some levels replayed.

Glowfish

As I’m playing this game, my husband leans over and after a few seconds says “sometimes you play the most beautiful games.” And Glowfish is beautiful. After playing the free version, where you get a couple of levels to try out, I put it on my wish list and snagged it when it was on sale. You control a fishy-swimmy-thingy that swims–glides, really–through all sorts of underwater caverns defeating baddies and picking up little wayward tadpole-ish friends that got lost from their homes. The artwork is gorgeous, the game play is fluid, and there are enough save points that if you want to stop during a level, you can. You can replay a level pretty easily, and the game tells you at the end of each level how many friends, coins, and secret areas you found (and didn’t find), so you can decide if you want to try again. Survival score: Countless hours, some levels replayed.

700 Solitaire Games for iPad

700 Solitaire Games for iPad (aka Solitaire Pro)

I would play solitaire for hours when I was growing up–the kind that uses real playing cards. I knew about a dozen different variations. We didn’t have umpteen different after-school activities and on the weekend our 4 channels of TV seemed to all play golf. So it was always good to have ways to pass the time. This game doesn’t have a pretty interface, but it does have lots of different types of solitaire. They are categorized by difficulty of winning, by luck v. skill, and –this is cool– by how long it takes to play a game. I played a variation that was difficult to win, all luck, and 2 minutes a game. It was great! In solitaire, sometimes whether you win is beside the point — the fun is in the luck of the draw.

700 Solitaire Games for iPad

700 Solitaire Games for iPad (aka Solitaire Pro)

I would play solitaire for hours when I was growing up–the kind that uses real playing cards. I knew about a dozen different variations. We didn’t have umpteen different after-school activities and on the weekend our 4 channels of TV seemed to all play golf. So it was always good to have ways to pass the time. This game doesn’t have a pretty interface, but it does have lots of different types of solitaire. They are categorized by difficulty of winning, by luck v. skill, and –this is cool– by how long it takes to play a game. I played a variation that was difficult to win, all luck, and 2 minutes a game. It was great! In solitaire, sometimes whether you win is beside the point — the fun is in the luck of the draw.