Puzzlejuice: Breaking Your Brain with Awesome

9 Overall Score

Horrifying, yet fun, experience

Score chasing will make hours disappear

Written by on January 31, 2012 in [, , , , , , , ]

So let’s talk about an iPad game. Generally these have been less than great. With the exception of a pretty cool port of Plants v. Zombies, standouts like Infinity Blade, and several thousand variants of Angry Birds, it’s hard for a touch game to convey any sense of speed without feeling clunky. That’s what makes Puzzlejuice so wonderful. It’s a fast-paced puzzle game that feels empowered rather than hamstrung by the touch screen. Puzzlejuice is a $0.99 word game with a Tetris twist. It was also developed by Asher Vollmer, of the illustrious pie-filled P.B. Winterbottom. Puzzlejuice is cleverly built and extremely crisp-looking. The menus are all clear (and a bit goofy), and the basic interface of the game is designed to teach core mechanics to the player. To start the game you have to work with the core mechanics of the game. I love that.

The game proper is Tetris plus Boggle minus litigation. Your goal is to form lines with the various blocks falling from the top of the screen. Completed lines turn into letter tiles, and only by making words with these letters will the lines be completely cleared. This mechanic offers an interesting risk-reward factor, as more lines offers the opportunity for a larger word (and more points), but also limits your ability to manage falling blocks. On top of this there’s a massive incentive to work as quickly as possible; your score multiplier goes away after only a short pause for thought. All of this combines to make for a horrifying, yet fun, experience. Hopefully the video below shall be convincing about this.

A typical games goes like this: You begin in typical Tetris fashion (build 4 lines and complete them all at once), make a couple words, and feel great. All is right with the world. You’re actually awesome at this game, it turns out. That leaderboard score you’re racking up will be the Everest of score challenges. It shall never be attained. Suddenly you start working faster, making silly moves and lines to keep the multiplier going. Power-ups are thrown down as fast as they appear, because A TINY BAR AT THE BOTTOM OF THE SCREEN IS SHRINKING WHILE I THINK. It’s roughly thirty seconds after this that I’ll lose the game, having posted about ⅓ of the score necessary for the newbie challenge. This remains both infuriating and incredibly compelling. However, every time I lose a round I know what happened. Losses feeling “fair” is a major part of making any kind of score chase game work, and Puzzlejuice is great at that.

In addition to online leaderboards, Puzzlejuice offers a host of gameplay options (with awesomely stupid names) and a huge amount of replay. Every time I’ve played this I’ve spent more time than expected trying for another run, another score, or trying to fix that thing I found last time. It’s rare that I find a puzzle game that encourages this amount of replay and finesse, and having that for a dollar is amazing.

All things said, Puzzlejuice is literally just boggle plus Tetris. If that isn’t your thing, this won’t be your game. As word games are incredibly popular on pretty much every i-device and Tetris is available on pretty much every platform…ever? I think this is something you should check out. At a dollar I’m into it just to to throw more funds at the pie-related insanity of P.B. Winterbottom. The fact that Puzzlejuice is awesome just makes this better. Buy it. Now.


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Author: Zach Snell View all posts by
Hi there. If you're reading this you've probably read some material of mine. If you want more go here and read my stories about a guy who punches wizards. http://www.amazon.com/Zachary-Snell/e/B008G0MORI/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

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