Amanda: Welcome to the GameGrrlz blog! Today we’re discussing the new physics based iOS game Supertype by Philipp Stollenmayer. I just love this clever little game- it’s a great example of how to do a lot with a little. It requires you to type (or drop pre-typed letters by drawing lines to guide them) letters that hang over little obstacle courses and then drop the letters, trying to get them to touch dots that are obscured in some way by the obstacles. According to their shapes, they will navigate (or fail to navigate) the course below, in a quest to touch the dots. O’s, of course, roll, p’s will tip over to the right, q’s to the left. The dots on i’s and j’s will fall off the letters and go on their own trajectories. So it’s up to you to find the right letters to plug holes, make ramps, swing on pegs, and roll over bumps. And it’s REALLY fun puzzle solving, with clever solutions to minimalist but elegant problems. You’re rewarded when you win a level by a shower of newspaper confetti that scatters over your screen, which is a lovely reward for a level well played. There’s enough variation in the levels to keep you guessing, and you can hop between levels and come back to a thorny one, which I appreciate. Even when you’re failing at a level, it’s a joy to try different letters and see how they interact with the obstacles of that level.
Eva: Oh, joy! What a fun experience learning how every letter of the alphabet responds to gravity, weightlessness, jostling and interacting with each other! Supertype is a great game because you never feel like you are failing, but just experimenting with differently shaped tools with certain tendencies. You have to type letters, use a space or create a little finger-drawn bar, and considered the physics of the play. Once you hit the check, you’ll see if your string of letters or your bar achieves your goal. One game even featured my name, which was super cute, but that was just about all of the personal interaction you get here. No hints, no how-to-play; you just get going. While I like getting thrown to the wolves and getting it all figured out by my little lonesome, I wonder if other players would like a little more guidance. The beginning games are simple enough and you learn which letters with a hook, dot, or cup or are wide or slim enough to use in that challenge, and this is useful information as the walls get more challenging. They use actual wallpaper for background, and I’d like to see wallpaper that looks like it wasn’t torn out of Ethan Allen’s 1988 sample catalogue; but that’s the designer in me, and it did not make me enjoy the game any less. I can easily see this game becoming a sensation and a go-to for clever and endlessly engaging puzzling.
Amanda: Welcome to the Game Grrlz blog! Today we’re discussing the lovely iOS puzzle game Prune. The game has a simple goal: prune the branches of a growing tree so that it grows to avoid obstacles and reach the light. Your tree can only grow so much, so careful pruning is required to get the growing branches into sunlight, where they blossom. There’s SO much to love about this game! The minimalistic artwork is some of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen in a game, and there’s something really zen about the gameplay, even when more stressful elements like lava are introduced. The controls are easy to use, the learning curve is gentle, and even if you screw it up and kill your tree, you just start again with no penalty. I played through all the levels several times and I really wish there were more levels- every time my tree blossomed it felt like such a wonderful reward. Wholly original, this game is a perfect example of how graceful, peaceful, and beautiful gaming can be.
Eva: Take a deep breath and Prune. There are few games I’ve played that really inspire peace, thoughtfulness and logic like Prune. Inspiring my inner earth goddess, this low-pressure and beautiful game requires strategic swipes to lop off branches of a growing bush or tree to maximize its growing power and find the sun. What’s more beautiful than that? The graphics are hypnotizing and gorgeous, the play gets more and more challenging and I just could not help but revel in the complexity. There’s no losing in Prune, you just have to keep going and try to keep your plants flourishing against the natural elements. It’s a great metaphor for life that I mused about during play- simply remove what you don’t need for health, strength, growth and, most importantly, keep playing.
Welcome to the Game Grrlz blog! Today we’re discussing the VERY addicting iOS word game W.E.L.D.E.R. It’s a scrabble-tile based game, with a weirdly steampunky feel to the setup of the game with a splash of arcade thrown in. It of course involves making words as tiles fall from the top of your screen, and you have a limited amount of moves to make a set amount of words. Making big-point words earns you more moves. But there are nasty traps set for you- tiles that can’t be moved, tiles that are toxic, etc. I got so addicted to WELDER that I had a dream about having a robot named WELDER. Seriously. I did complete my dynamic extraction (that’s winning the game) after a week of steep learning curve pain, and that was pretty satisfying. There is great replay value here, as well as several other smaller games in the home menu and the option to do two-player games. Overall, I just adore this game, although I feel it should come with a warning label about addiction to it.
Eva: Curse you, W.E.L.D.E.R! What have you done to me? This is my current new obsession - like I needed another one. Gameplay was slow-going for me at first and I started over a few times until I had a feel for it. I’m half-way through and now that the trial by mild confusion and self-doubt is long past, I’m humming right along. It’s low pressure, but be ready to be infuriated and foiled by words you’ve never heard of! Place a tile in the wrong place and you may spell an antiquated medical plural noun that stops you in your tracks! Oh well, the word may pay dividends with the accidental, random cascade of other words that play on the board.
This game has provided a new way of playing word games and the challenge is deliciously addictive. I can’t wait to get back!
Beautiful, thoughtful, difficult puzzling that's free with in-app purchases.
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Welcome to the inaugural post of the Game Grrlz blog! Today we’re discussing the addictive iOS puzzle game Two Dots. We’ve been playing this game for years, and it’s something I actually structure my life around. I like to have a free hour Thursday at 2:00 to play their weekly bonus puzzle. The idea is simple- you connect dots of the same color on a screen full of different colored dots and connecting them makes them disappear, which allows new dots to fall from the top of the screen. You have goals- to collect a certain number of a certain color dots, or to get rid of other obstacles or collect some other achievement as you get rid of the dots. There are many, many variables to this game as you progress to well over 1000 levels: dots that spread fire, dots that move and eat other dots, dots covered with ice that needs to be broken, dots that explode, etc. It can be extremely challenging, and every day you are given free helpers- like erasers that can erase dots, or shufflers that can rearrange your screen, and this is a great feature. The game is free to download, and you can buy extra lives (you regenerate lives every 20 minutes to a max of 5), extra moves, or extra helpers. I’ll toot my own horn by saying that I have 3 stars (the max) on every level and I’ve never bought anything from the game, so I’ve had an enormous amount of enjoyment out of this for years for free. The gameplay is smooth and easy, it really makes you think, and the art is beautiful and fun. I do hate the music, though- I always have it turned off.
I just put down Two Dots to come and write this review. Amanda has done a great job explaining the ins and outs, so I’ll just say this: I play it every day and I sometimes I see it when I close my eyes at night. I guess you can say it’s in my head. Amanda and I play very differently and it’s an interesting study. We both like to win the game without using a helper, but she hoards them and I squander them immediately because who likes to win that way? I do however get crazy and can’t go to bed without seeing the design of the next board. Will there be fire and tar or those annoying crabs and magnets? She can go to bed with an unfinished level. There are other examples of how our different proclivities and inner self-competition vary, but we both love it and it make the games work for us. I finally finished the current levels and am going back and getting three stars on all levels… and/or besting my friends who are also signed up. I want all the gold! It’s pretty, soothing, smart, and I’m hooked.
Play Two Dots!
Eva and Amanda are best friends who puzzle obsessively. Our focus is on iOS puzzle games, interactive fiction, and live room escapes.