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

Head 2 Head: Android OS vs. Chrome OS

A large part of Google’s OS success hasn’t been because of its awesomeness. No. Frankly, we think nothing speaks louder than the almighty dollar in this world. But both are “free,” right? So this is tie? Not really. Although Android is technically free since Google doesn’t charge device makers for it, there are costs associated with getting devices “certified.” Oh, yeah, and then there’s Apple and Microsoft, both of which get healthy payouts from device makers through patent lawsuits. Microsoft reportedly makes far more from Android sales than Windows Phone sales. You just generally don’t see the price because it’s abstracted by carriers. Chrome OS, on the other hand, actually is pretty much free. A top-ofthe-line Chromebook is $280, while a top-of-the-line Android phone full retail is usually $600. We’re giving this one to Chrome OS because if it’s generally cheaper for the builder, it’s cheaper for you. Read more

Kodi (XBMC Media Center) 14.2 Officially Released, Kodi 15 “Isengard” Is On Its Way

The Kodi development team, through Nathan Betzen, had the pleasure of announcing today, March 28, the immediate availability for download of the second and last maintenance release for Kodi 14 (codename Helix), before they continue with the development cycle for the upcoming release, Kodi 15, dubbed Isengard. Read more

Debian 8 Jessie Installer Now Supports Running a 64-bit Linux Kernel on a 32-bit EFI

The Debian Installer team had the pleasure of announcing on March 27 that the second Release Candidate (RC) version of the Debian 8.0 "Jessie" installer is now available for download and testing. The RC2 version of the installer brings a great number of improvements and fixes. Read more

First Look at GNOME 3.16

The highly anticipated GNOME 3.16 desktop environment for Linux kernel-based operating systems has been announced on March 26, 2015, and has been declared by the GNOME development team as the best GNOME release yet. Of course, we wanted to give GNOME 3.16 desktop environment a try and see for ourselves the new features, apps, and improvements. Read more