Puzzle Retreat Review

By , on February 5, 2013

Puzzle Retreat
Download on the AppStore
4 out of 5


  • Simplicity of premise and 'casual' controls don't detract from the puzzle complexity.
  • Clean presentation; wood blocks invoke the warmness of physical, hand-made puzzles.
  • Plenty of content available for players to work their way through.


  • Spartan ambiance feels lifeless after playing for a while.
  • No additional incentives to replay stages; not bad in and of itself, but a missed opportunity for extended gameplay.


The Voxel Agents strip things back for Puzzle Retreat and the end result is a zen-like block-sliding experience with a restrained, relaxing presentation.

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If you consider pure puzzle titles to be a boring chore, you can probably stop right here; that's not the most flattering of openings, but I know there's more than a few of you who balk at the idea of a game not having at least some sort of action element to it. For those of you who remain, Puzzle Retreat is a brilliant zen-like puzzler that takes the 'sliding block' concept quite literally.

Your goal on each level is simply to fill the empty spaces with ice and other objects later on. You're presented with a grid and the simple controls of swiping blocks on the edge to deploy their payload. The most basic of these is 'ice' and the block will fill as many gaps as there are die spots on the block. Ice can slide over other blocks of ice, so there's a weaving aspect to take in to account on most levels.

To keep things interesting the game introduces brand new blocks every so often including directional blocks to change how they slide; stoppers to get in the way of blocks; and even fire blocks that melt the blocks you've placed.

The potential for challenges that bend the mind with leaps of logic is high, but thanks to the casual simplicity of swiping blocks and quickly 'undo'ing anything that looks wrong, you can make short work of even the most complex puzzle with some spare time.

Although the presentation is slick, the lack of background music leaves the game feeling a little too spartan; there's always the option of turning something like that off if it annoys you.

At this point the game has already released several puzzle packs, each costing $0.99 for 24 additional levels. That's not a bad deal considering the base game comes with 96 puzzles out of the gate.

If you've been trying to scratch that puzzling itch, give Puzzle Retreat a try.


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