App of the day: Puzzle Retreat review (iPhone)
Puzzle Retreat may not have the most imaginative name in the world, but its variety of puzzles are brain-taxingly imaginative right from the off. If order and deductive logic are your thing, or you just want to train those brain cells and frustrate your way to each puzzle's solution, then this is a simple but effective time killer.
- £1.99 (£0.69 for each additional set of puzzles)
We're suckers for puzzle games, and Puzzle Retreat - as its name suggests - will grab you by the grey matter and use up all your power of thought.
The concept is thus: slide blocks from their fixed positions around a board so they drop ice into their neighbouring hole. It's possible to slide these blocks in vertical or horizontal positions and once used up that's the end of that. Use every block and ice up each hole and - boom - that's the level complete.
The first levels which are essentially used to educate about the game's process are easy to grasp, but things quickly get more complex. Ice, as we all know, is slippery, and its this logic that's used to creative effect: blocks can slide over the already placed ice blocks in order to slip into the next available position beyond, but this will require a little forethought to get the order of each block's movement correct.
As levels progress it's no longer about releasing individual blocks of ice either; some will reveal two, three, four or even five blocks as shown on their individual surface, much like a standard die. It's only possible to use these if there are the correct number of allotted spaces available - so drag a three-piece block over two available spaces and the path will flash up red and show it's not possible, instead you'll need to look at the mistake you've made with a previous move that's blocked the solution.
It's possible to quickly restart whole levels or rewind individual moves to help out, as sometimes the solution looks so near but there's a rogue empty hole that just can't be filled with the remaining position of the available blocks. Other puzzles will just click and be completed in a matter of seconds - we suspect that will be down to the individual.
To add even more depth there are solid blocks which can block positions, as well as fire blocks that can melt ice to free up new positions and redirection arrows to ping ice blocks around the board. As every block has to be used to complete a level you'll want to think carefully about the order in which each one is used.
And so it continues. There are multiple selections of levels - starting with Natural and Fireplace - which contain 48 and 26 puzzles respectively. Beyond that there's an additional set of levels for free, called Nature, which contains 26 more, whereafter Piano, Bath, Chocolate and Mist will each set you back 69p a ack to keep on ploughing through. We think the first set of puzzles should be free rather than £1.99 but otherwise we can't think of much to complain about.
Indeed we can think of little wrong with this puzzler, bar from its repetitive nature. Otherwise it's a great concept with really well thought out levels, some of which we've had to return to multiple times in order to crack - so there's plenty of life here.
Download it, get swiping those blocks and see how long it takes before your brain feels belittled. Good fun with a dash of frustration for good measure. We like.