Games Games Games: Physics Puzzlers (sort of)

This week is all about physics puzzlers, for values of sometimes questionable physics. These are games riding the coattails of Angry Birds and all their ilk, but which are still pretty fun in their own right.

Physics puzzlers are both a mental puzzle–how do I move X to get Y over to Z?–but they also include a little bit of hand/eye coordination…and sometimes a little luck.

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The first game up for review is Contre Jour. In this game, you’re trying to get the little black monster into the blue circle. It sounds relatively simple, but then the world sort of warps and changes. From gradiating the turf to move him around, to winging him by his appendages, Contre Jour is a mix of Where’s My Water and World of Goo, both pretty awesome physics puzzlers in their own right, but with somewhat different physic puzzles trying to be solved (and also both with free options, which Contre Jour doesn’t currently have–to try it, you have to buy it for the price of $1.99).

Levels progress in increasing difficulty, but without terrible spikes of being stuck in any one place for too long. But the crowning achievement of this game are the graphics; each level is a tiny piece of artwork in your hand. Other puzzle games are cartoony and they certainly get the job done, but this is a great game to be playing when a cute girl (or guy) bumps into you while you are waiting for friends on a night out and asks to see what you’re doing.

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If you are up for cartoony action and are tired of alligators and their water issues, I recommend a similar game with the Phineas and Ferb theme, Where’s My Perry. The game is based on a running gag in the show that Perry is a secret agent who inevitably disappears as the boys start their massive science experiments/robot building/space craft racing/whatever day to go and fight evil, typically through the use of various secret passageways and tunnels, to get his mission, so he can fight the (very mildly) evil Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz…it is a Disney show, after all.

Where’s My Perry was built as a tie-in to Where’s My Water, and I actually kind of like it better. The show theme appeals, but the extra sciencey gadgets and gizmos shake up the “normal” physics of the “move stuff out of the way so other stuff can flow” concept of this type of physics puzzler. It starts with a free version, and then changes up the pay model typical of most Google play games by charging per sets of missions. For 99 cents you get 7 levels which is 140 different puzzles, plus the original puzzles included in the free edition. That’s a lot of play time for under a buck. Also, I didn’t really mention the gnomes:

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In both the Perry levels–where you’re helping Agent P–and the Doofenshmirtz levels–where you’re helping Evil Incorporated–you are collecting all kinds of weird gnomes. It’s also a running gag on the series and they have a lot of fun with it in the game. Collect the right amount, and unlock extra surprises, levels, and options in the game.

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Finally, in this week’s round up, I recommend Slice It. Instead of flinging birds, swinging goop, and digging tunnels, you are carving two dimensions polyhedral shapes. Okay, that sounded way more boring than it actually is. The challenge appears on the graph paper on the screen with the shape to be carved; it starts out fairly simple, having you carve a square in half, and gets gradually more complex as you go along, such as cutting things that aren’t nearly as symmetrical as a square into “equal” pieces. You are scored on a scale of 1-3 stars (sound familiar?). Each level progresses in difficulty from the first one. While it’s not quite Fruit Ninja in terms of action, cutting up poor defenseless shapes can be very tension releasing. I imagine its probably not bad for your younger crowd; it teaches shapes and spatial awareness without them really knowing it (heavens knows I didn’t realize it until later).

That’s it for this week. I hope you’re enjoying my “summer games games games” posts; more to come. As always, post or reply to me about any games you recommend I try.

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