- iPhone - £1.79
If you play enough mobile phone games, even the best puzzle games tend to bring out the arch cynic in you quicker than you can spray 'Match Three' over your keyboard with a mouthful of cornflakes.
Fortunately, with Dungeon Raid, Fireflame Games has plumped for the relatively meadow-fresh puzzle RPG formula, and done so with canny mechanics that help set it apart from the great unwashed.
Unusually, you can trace a mazy line across the entire playing field, which allows you to match not only horizontally and vertically, but diagonally as well – and any combination of three. But matching tiles is the easy bit.
On every turn, you can choose to match three or more coins, shields, health-restoring potions, or go on the attack and match swords with those dreaded skulls. For every skull left on the board at the end of each turn, you'll lose health, so the challenge comes from trying to balance your resource requirements with your attacking instincts.
A certain amount of luck comes into play. Sometimes the board fills up with tiles you don't need, or stumps you with an unhelpful arrangement. Part of the skill, then, comes from your ability to dig your way out of a jam and strike back.
The game being replete with RPG mechanics, the longer you survive, the more money you accumulate to buy new upgrades, the more you rank-up, and the more useful spells and the like you can accumulate to dispense when the going gets tough.
Once you get going, the hardest part is knowing when to put the bloody thing down. As long as you don't mind missing your stop occasionally, this is one to add to the puzzle pile.
- iPhone/iPad - £1.79 (unified binary)
- Free version available with over 100 levels.
If a woman's work is never done, what about the plight of the poor puzzle gamer? The gaze haunted by post-abstract shape-dreams. The never-ending thought treadmill, knowing that there are many more problems to solve in the days to follow.
The only answer, obviously, is to feed that thought animal with the tastiest logic nuggets money can buy – except, in the case of Blockoban, money isn't even required. Not for the first hundred-odd puzzles, at least, if you opt for the freebie edition.
For once, we're not concerned with matching-bloody-three. This bunch of wastrels merely want to be shown the way to go home, and your must employ the finger of justice across a simple grid to course-correct this unruly mob.
The problem with this lot is, of course, that each block slides idiotically in a straight line, and only comes to a halt when it hits an obstacle. This obviously presents something of a challenge, and it's up to your straining brain to push each block in a logical order so that they eventually all wind up sitting pretty in their colour-specific homes. The fewer moves you use, the greater chance you'll have of getting to heaven. Or at least that's how I interpreted the medal system.
Needless to say, such a simple, neat concept doesn't stay sane and mild-mannered for long, and after hooking you in over a set of overly simple tasters, Monsieur Jean-Phillipe Sarda then turns the heat up to gas mark 9 and leaves you to silently stew in your own juice for a ridiculous 2252 levels. If that sounds like your idea of fractured gaming bliss, then you're probably welcome to each other.