Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

New handheld puzzle games fun, addictive

Filed under
Reviews
Gaming

What's great about puzzle games is that there's no real commitment and no story line. But beware of the addictive nature of handheld puzzle games that you can take anywhere -- it's easy to jump in, but getting back out is another story. Here's a look at two of the latest:

'Polarium'

"Polarium," for the Nintendo DS: When it comes to puzzle games, the common thread always seems to be matching. Whether it's colors, patterns, symbols, fruits, vegetables or Snoods, get three or more in a row and you're set.

With Nintendo's "Polarium," even though you're either turning black tiles white or white tiles black, there's a lot more to this puzzle. Using a stylus and the touch-sensitive screen of the Nintendo DS handheld unit, players flip black-and-white tiles to eliminate and entire row, column or block of tiles.

In Challenge Mode, players have a limited amount of time to match and eliminate tiles, while lines of various tiled patterns continue to fall, adding to your job.

But, the best part of the game isn't the Challenge Mode, it's the Puzzle Mode, where your job is to take a set pattern of tiles and eliminate it with one fell swoop of your stylus.

The game has 100 built-in puzzles, but you have the option of creating your own and trading mind-bending puzzles with friends via Wi-Fi.

This "E-rated" title is available for $30 on Nintendo DS. It could be more aesthetically pleasing, but will add hours of head-scratching puzzles to your arsenal.

'Mercury'

"Archer MacLean's Mercury," for the PlayStation Portable: There's something strikingly familiar about this game, circa Atari 1984. Still "Mercury," does a lot more than "Marble Madness" could ever do.

The premise has been done many times before -- take an object and maneuver your way through obstacles and moving platforms to get to the end of the level without falling off the edge.

But in "Mercury," from Ignition Entertainment, liquid mercury is a lot harder to maneuver than a solid marble. The game uses an engine that calculates realistic reactions of liquid mercury -- including splitting into one or more wayward blobs -- based on player movements.

Players tilt levels to move the blobs through ramps, mazes, pile-drivers, mercury-munchers and all sorts of other moving obstacles. The goal is to reach the end of each of the 72 levels within a specified amount of time and with a specified amount of mercury left.

Players also have to make their way through each level by spray-painting the mercury different colors to make it through same-colored gates. As the levels progress, blobs need to be combined to create new colors.

This $40, "E-rated" title is graphically stunning for a puzzle game and provides an addictive addition to the PSP lineup.

Associated Press

More in Tux Machines

today's howtos

Tizen in Bolivia and India

Security Leftovers

  • Security updates for Wednesday
  • Microsoft says its best not to fiddle with its Windows 10 group policies (that don't work)

    On Monday, we revealed that a security researcher had used a packet sniffer to show that many settings designed to prevent access to the internet were being ignored with connections to a range of third party servers including advertising hubs.

  • What's got a vast attack surface and runs on Linux? Windows Defender, of course
    Google Project Zero's Windows bug-hunter and fuzz-boffin Tavis Ormandy has given the world an insight into how he works so fast: he works on Linux, and with the release of a personal project on GitHub, others can too. Ormandy's project is to port Windows DLLs to Linux for his vuln tests (“So that's how he works so fast!” Penguinistas around the world are saying). Typically self-effacing, Ormandy made this simple announcement on Twitter (to a reception mixing admiration, humour, and horror):
  • Hacked in Translation – from Subtitles to Complete Takeover
    Check Point researchers revealed a new attack vector which threatens millions of users worldwide – attack by subtitles. By crafting malicious subtitle files, which are then downloaded by a victim’s media player, attackers can take complete control over any type of device via vulnerabilities found in many popular streaming platforms, including VLC, Kodi (XBMC), Popcorn-Time and strem.io. We estimate there are approximately 200 million video players and streamers that currently run the vulnerable software, making this one of the most widespread, easily accessed and zero-resistance vulnerability reported in recent years.
  • A Samba remote code execution vulnerability
    Distributors are already shipping the fix; there's also a workaround in the advisory for those who cannot update immediately.

KDE, Qt, GTK and GNOME News

  • KDE Plasma 5.8.7 LTS Desktop Environment Released with over 60 Improvements
    KDE has announced today the release and immediate availability of the seventh maintenance update to the long-term supported KDE Plasma 5.8 desktop environment. KDE Plasma 5.8.7 LTS is now considered the latest stable and most advanced version of the KDE Plasma 5.8 LTS (Long Term Support) desktop environment, which some of you out there are probably using on your favorite GNU/Linux distributions instead of a short-lived branch like KDE Plasma 5.9 or the upcoming KDE Plasma 5.10 release.
  • Summer of Coding!
    After a month of dread and panicking about the fact that Google Summer of Code results are announced in the middle of exam season... I'm happy to say I'll be doing the Rust plugin for KDevelop!
  • Qt 5.9 Release Candidate Available For Testing
  • Qt 5.9.0 RC released
    We have released Qt 5.9.0 RC today. You can update it at the top of your Qt 5.9 beta(4) online installation or do clean installation by using qt online installer. Detailed instructions here: https://wiki.qt.io/How_to_get_snapshot_via_online_installer .
  • The Road to GTK+ 4 Continues, New Milestone Adds Initial OS X and Meson Support
    A new milestone was released recently, GTK+ 3.91.0, which adds quite a bunch of improvements and bug fixes, but also some new APIs and compatibility with other supported operating systems besides those based on the Linux kernel. For example, GTK+ 3.91.0 implements initial support for Apple's macOS platform, which will make it possible to run apps written in GTK+ 4 on OS X.
  • Epiphany Browser Updated for GNOME 3.25.2 with New Shortcuts for Switching Tabs
    Ahead of today's GNOME 3.25.2 desktop environment development release, the team of developers behind the Epiphany web browser have released the second milestone towards the Epiphany 3.26 stable series, due out later this year.