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Hidden Gem of the Week: Prune

Feature By Christian Valentin, 2 years, 3 months ago
Hidden Gem of the Week: Prune

Prune is one of those games that can easily stand alongside titles like Monument Valley, The Room, Framed, as unique puzzle games designed both to be accessible withoit being too easy and to be feel well-suited as an experience on mobile througn clever touch controls. Prune's core concept is an appealing one: grow a tree, lead it to the light and watch its flowers bloom. Swiping on the screen lets you perform the titular action, slicing away branches to steer the growing tree towards the sunlight, within narrow passages, and around obstacles. Prune's simple to grasp design doesn't preclude it from challenge though. Red spheres threaten to infect your tree, powerful winds blend branches, g…

Minimalist puzzler Bloki brings spatial challenges to iOS and Android when it releases next month

News By Christian Valentin, 2 years, 3 months ago
Minimalist puzzler Bloki brings spatial challenges to iOS and Android when it releases next month

Blocki looks to be an intriguing absract puzzle game slated for release on mobile in May, presenting block stacking and molding mechanics in its recent teaser trailer. Your goal is to build a structure from different colored blocks, twisting and turning, shrink and expanding the shape to create a design that connects with a formation of like-colored prisms. Flipping into position and then shifting blocks around looks to be a unique challenge compared to similar games, and future stages will add to the difficulty with color-switching tiles and obstactles to deal with. While the mechanics look like they might be tricky to grasp, Blocki promises to be a game in the zen pacing category of puz…

Guide a trio of critters through forest puzzles in Woodways, available on iOS and Android

News By Christian Valentin, 2 years, 3 months ago
Guide a trio of critters through forest puzzles in Woodways, available on iOS and Android

A duck, fox, and buffalo meet in the forest...that isn't the start of a joke but the concept of new puzzler Woodways, currently offering cutesy yet challenging spatial brainteasers on iOS and Android. Mechanically, Woodways will feel familiar if you've played games like Quell, Yankai's Peak, and other Sokoban-inspired games; here, you manuever an animal trio with swipes, all three moving in sync in an attempt to reach waiting exit tiles. That alone would allow for cleverly-designed challenges as you navigate past teleporting wormholes, slippery ice patches, and boulder barriers, but Woodways adds another mechanic into the mix: each animal has a unique attribute that affects where and how…

Charming puzzle adventure Ittle Dew 2 is headed to iOS and Android

News By Christian Valentin, 2 years, 3 months ago
Charming puzzle adventure Ittle Dew 2 is headed to iOS and Android

2013's Ittle Dew brought a whimscal puzzle-focused approach to a Zelda-style formula, and now, through a recent Twitter post, developer Ludosity has revealed that its sequel is finally coming soon to mobile. Ittle Dew 2 retains the same exploration and puzzle focus of the first game, but drops the titular Ittle on a new island with new mechanics, challenges, and secrets to uncover.  Aggressive enemies and bosses test your combat skills, while your weapons double as puzzle solving tools in the game's many dungeons and puzzle rooms. As you solve its trick brain teasers and travel between the island's regions, Ittle Dew 2's story of escape unfolds through quirky inhabitants an…

Graffiti puzzler Vandals imagines tagging as turn-based challenges when it releases on April 12th

News By Christian Valentin, 2 years, 3 months ago
Graffiti puzzler Vandals imagines tagging as turn-based challenges when it releases on April 12th

Vandals, Cosmografik's follow-up to the puzzle platformer Type:Rider, promises a puzzler revolving around turn-based movement and carefully-planned traversal along grids of enemies, hazards, and power-ups, in the vein of the Go games. But rather than hitmen, AI defenders, or monsters, Vandals is themed around tagging urban settings with graffiti.  Featuring levels in cities ranging from Paris to New York and Berlin, you travel long a grid of paths, each movement causing police and other dangers to move in turn. Guards, dogs, cameras, and alaram systems all stand between you, tagging, and escape, and success will require planning ahead, timing movements to evade security, an…

Devolver Digital's colorful new puzzler Umiro releases on iOS and Android

News By Christian Valentin, 2 years, 3 months ago
Devolver Digital's colorful new puzzler Umiro releases on iOS and Android

New Devolver-published puzzler Umiro was once called Recolor, and you can see why from screenshots and footage. Not only is it a game of vibrantly colorful isometric stages, its dual character gameplay pits your heroes against roaming colorless orbs in a quest to bring back color to the world. Each stage of Umiro places you control of Huey and Satura, challenging you to draw paths for both toward red and blue crystals through gauntlets of gates, switches, and black spheres. Once you press play, both characters will follow their paths automatically, so figuring out the order of their movements, when they need to pause for a moment or activates switches at the right time, is key to sol…

Hidden Gem of the Week: Blackbox

Feature By Christian Valentin, 2 years, 3 months ago
Hidden Gem of the Week: Blackbox

Blackbox's unassuming first impressions presents the player with a black background and colored squares,  but as you begin to explore its puzzles, Blackbox reveals itself to be something unique special: a puzzle games where none of its challenges are solved by interacting with the screen, but instead with every other sensor and function on your phone.. Other games like The Room have used touch controls to let player tactilely manipulate  with items and puzzle boxes, but this game's clever twist turns the phone itself into a puzzle box, where experimenting with its different switches and features is how you discover solutions. Rotating your device, interacting with volume buttons…

Guide a flame through darkness and puzzles in Candleman, now available on iOS and Android

News By Christian Valentin, 2 years, 3 months ago
Guide a flame through darkness and puzzles in Candleman, now available on iOS and Android

Candleman is one of those games with a very apt title: it's a new puzzler about guiding a sentient candlestick, with legs and all, through a dangerous world. Recently released on iOS and Android, this puzzle game promises both a compelling atmosphere and a unique mechanic of being a fluttering flame in the dark. At its core, Candleman revolves around a simple mechanic, where your light only lasts ten seconds at a time. Any longer and your wax body melts, and you lose a life. With that ability, you can traverse the shadowed halls of a fairy tale world, where books and pages form paths and platforms and colorful lillies provide ambient illumination. But Candleman quickly introduces addition…

Homo Machina is an artful industrial puzzler in development for iOS and Android

News By Christian Valentin, 2 years, 3 months ago
Homo Machina is an artful industrial puzzler in development for iOS and Android

Inspired by the art of Fritz Kahn, Homo Machina is an upcoming puzzle game that takes players on a journey through the body; not an organic Fantasy Voyage vision of the body but an mechanical automata, where mouth, nose, ears, heart, and other senses and parts of the anatomy are represented as industrial machinery. In the recently released trailer (Vimeo), Homo Machina presents its version of the body as a factory, where workers control machines that act as the pumping heart, as nasal ducts, as incisor blades and molar grinders. Each chapter revolves a different section and function of the body, with simple mechanics bringing each bodily function to life along with charming animations.…

Drive with style in minimalist arcade racer Absolute Drift, coming to iOS and Android this year

News By Christian Valentin, 2 years, 3 months ago
Drive with style in minimalist arcade racer Absolute Drift, coming to iOS and Android this year

In the vein of games like Jet Car Stunts, Absolute Drift doesn't pit you against other racers but rather your own skills and challenging tracks. As the name suggests, it's all about drifting: duration, smoothness, chaining them together, and pulling off stunts in a minimalist playground of routes and jumps. Absolute Drift starts out simply, easing you into drift-based gameplay. Simply shaving seconds off time trails isn't enough; for the best scores, you'll need to pull off fluid elegant drifts, painting the white roads and environments with the curving streaks of your tires. Modulating the speed and angle of your car is paramount to mastering drifting, especially when you shift from race…

Artistic platformer Ovivo leaps onto the App Store on March 28th

News By Christian Valentin, 2 years, 3 months ago
Artistic platformer Ovivo leaps onto the App Store on March 28th

Slated for release next week, Ovivo blends art game and challenging platformer as you gracefully leap through mysterious monochromatic environments. As an agile orb, your goal is to slide and leap through black-and-white levels, each one a winding gauntlet that zooms out to reveal your path was part of a larger tapestry. In this way, Ovivo is part mystery and part precision platformer, as you uncover more of the artwork with each jump and movement. With a tap of the screen, you pass through the ground, swapping colors and conserving momentum; this mechanic lets gracefully swoop and dive across its stages. As levels grow more complex, introducing moving platforming, copious spikes, swining…

Colorful puzzler Nano Golf is Nitrome's newest release on iOS and Android

Feature By Christian Valentin, 2 years, 3 months ago
Colorful puzzler Nano Golf is Nitrome's newest release on iOS and Android

Nitrome's bread and butter has always been its quirky interesting puzzlers and arcade games, and their newly published game Nano Golf looks to continue that trend. With each course being a tight mini-puzzle and with only a limited number of strokes, this golf puzzler brings varied physics-based golf challenges to iOS and Android. Nano Golf's vivid pixel art courses start off relatively simply, not much different than commom mini golf stages with hills and windmills. But then speed boosting areas get introduced, with myriad other mechanics to follow, from golf carts chasing behind your ball to portals and switches and ghost copies of your ball and spikes and much more. While you might be a…

Hidden Gem of the Week: Perfect Paths

Feature By Christian Valentin, 2 years, 3 months ago
Hidden Gem of the Week: Perfect Paths

If you've played the (sadly no longer available) port of SpaceChem or the rail-drawing puzzler Trainyard, Perfect Paths may feel familiar despite its potential confusing UI and mechanics. Much like those, this is a methodical logic-based puzzle game, challenging you to splice together nodes amid limited space. At its most basic level, your goal is actually quite simple. All you have to do is move the colored blocks onto the similar-colored tiles on the grid. This is a game of step-by-step planning, of counting turns and meticulously setting up your commands and paths. It's the kind of game where, once you know how all the elements work together, you could succeed on your first try if you…

Hyperforma is a cyberpunk arcade game headed to iOS next week

News By Christian Valentin, 2 years, 3 months ago
Hyperforma is a cyberpunk arcade game headed to iOS next week

Hyperforma puts you in the headspace of a curious explorer traveling through the mysterious cyber-landscape of ancient civilization's network, presented as fast-paced and visually-stylish arcade action coming to the App Store on March 26th. Gameplay-wise, Hyperforma is essentially a brick-breaker, representing hacking as your digital avatar chipping away at the barriers protecting mainframes and other data. But instead of the classic design of your paddle below a block structure, your avatar bounces off the walls and floor while you rotate the central block structure in 3D space, You'll need to hit nodes and avoid richocheting through gaps in the firewalls that make up the side of the scr…

Playerunknown's Battleground Mobile is now available on the US App Store and Google Play

News By Christian Valentin, 2 years, 3 months ago
Playerunknown's Battleground Mobile is now available on the US App Store and Google Play

After its release in China, the battle royale genre gets another contender with the arrival of Playerunknown's Battlegrounds Mobile on the US (and Canada) stores for iOS and Android. PUBG Mobile retains the same popular design of its console and PC versions: 100 players parachuting onto a large map, scavenge weapons and armor and gear, and engage in tense combat to be the last remaining player. The limits of the battlefield shrinks as the conflict rages on, bringing remaining players closer and closer, shifting tactics from evasion and hiding to more aggressive close-up combat.  Powered by Unreal Engine 4, the mobile game boasts multiple graphical settings for different devices and…