GAMES Magazine: November Issue

The new issue goes on sale this week. I did my usual selection of reviews (including Snoopy Flying Ace: best Xbox flight game evah!), as well as a preview of Microsoft Kinect.

The issue has the usual array of news, features, puzzles, and pencil puzzles. Buy it wherever better magazines are sold!

I think this image of the cover puzzle is large enough, so here are the rules:

Bubble Trouble
The automated security system in this undersea lab is malfunctioning, trapping two scientists in opposite corners. To escape, they must meet in any “room” to use their security cards together; but the security system will only allow them to move from room to room if they both move at the same time—and each time they move, they must pass through rings of matching colors. Can you bring them together?

App O’ The Mornin’: iBlast Moki Review

iBlast Moki is everything that yesterday’s App O’ The Mornin’, Isaac Newton’s Gravity, failed to be. This is a chain-reaction physics game with visual appeal, 70 puzzles ranging from easy to “helpme!”, perfect controls, and a lot of charm.

The appeal of this game does not lie in its inventiveness or originality. We’d played games like this before. We’ve even seen elements of the visual style before. But rarely do they come together in a single app that delivers exactly what it should.

Mokis are little Kirby-like blobs with happy face that turn suddenly surprised when then find themselves in the proximity of a bomb. These bombs are your primarily tools for blasting Moki into a swirling vortex, which is almost always located in the most inconvenient spot on the screen.

When you place a bomb near a Moki, a little arrow gives you an idea of the trajectory that Moki will follow once the bomb detonates. You can also turn a dial on the ring that surrounds a bomb in order to delay the time until it explodes. Using these tools, you set up chain reactions that push the Moki towards the exit and victory.

Bombs are also useful for clearing away objects and triggering action and reactions, such as starting an avalanche or opening a gate. After the initial levels, balloons, ropes, and bridges enter the equation, and the potential variables for each puzzle grow exponentially. Some environments (such as water) also work under different gravitational rules, so you may find objects floating off rather than falling down. All of these factors keep the challenges in iBlast Moki continually fresh and interesting.

And if you thought 70 levels was the end of it, you thought wrong. iBlast Moki also comes with a full level editor and set of sharing tools. You can create your own level, or download new ones. Hundreds of levels are already floating around out there for download, and the tools make it easy for you to create and share new ones.

Yes, it has elements of Loco Roco, Lemmings, Kirby, Bomberman, and a number of other games, but so what? It takes those elements and makes them its own, creating something new and entertaining in the process. Of all the physics puzzlers I have on my Touch, this is the most polished, and the one I come back to again and again.