Unlocking Interlocked’s secrets is a puzzling business

First impressions

The moment we saw this app we were taken back to all those puzzles we had never managed to solve like Rubik’s Cube and all its irritating little friends. We’ve always been very good at mathematics, but for some reason puzzles sometimes stump us. We were therefore wary of trying the Interlocked app for fear of getting frustrated and/or looking like an idiot.

We were, however, pleasantly surprised to see that the app leads you in slowly, so you can get into the mind set of how best to tackle the puzzles before they become bonkers difficult.

By the time we were on the sixth puzzle, we felt cautiously confident and decided to move forward. We weren’t yet ready to show others our skills just in case we were on a lucky streak. But we figured if our progress kept continuing in this vein, we might just have to brag about our Interlocked prowess.

How it works

Interlocked resembles those wooden puzzles you’ve probably seen at some point in your life, although they usually require the player to put them together, not break them apart. Or maybe you’re supposed to break them apart, but then you’re expected to put them back together again … but we digress.

Interlocked is an app of three-dimensional puzzles that start out as one item and you have to figure out how to take them apart. You can move your finger around the screen to see the puzzle from all angles, and then once you’ve realised how to disassemble it, you can swipe its elements off the screen. Once the job is complete, you are given a rating of up to three stars based on the number of moves it took for you to solve the puzzle.

You can also reverse a move and if you’re completely stumped, reset and begin again. What’s remarkable about this app is how effective the 3D aspect is, particularly when you’re playing on an iPad with that crisp high-resolution screen. If you can’t possibly see a solution, all you have to do is move it around, and suddenly you’ll realise why you’ve not been able to get rid of that piece in the middle that’s been driving you crazy for half an hour. It doesn’t take you long to get the hang of it, and once you do, you’ll find yourself wanting to go on and on to further challenges.

When we played

As stated earlier, we had been dubious about trying this app thanks to our previous bad luck with puzzles of the same ilk, but once we saw how recommended it was we couldn’t help but download it. We figured we’d give it a try but wouldn’t tell anyone, so if we were absolute rubbish our secret would be safe.

The first one was easy, as was the second, but it wasn’t long before it upped the ante by adding “keys” that had to be removed before anything else, and multiple pieces that wouldn’t budge until we rotated the puzzle and saw that they were blocking each other and could only be tackled once a smaller element was shifted in a certain direction.

We’ll be the first to admit that we, like a petulant child, plonked (gently laid) our iPad down in disgust a few times when we couldn’t immediately figure out a puzzle, but would inevitably return to it 10 minutes later, determined to crack the blasted thing. There was something addictive about this app, and sometimes when we would leave it for a while, we’d come back and have that wonderful “Eureka!” moment.

By the time the evening rolled merrily around, we were on about the 10th puzzle and spinning it around like an expert to discern the solution. There were moments where we wondered if there was an error with the app because we couldn’t seem to get an unfettered element to move (as heaven forbid it was our fault), but inevitably we would see where we had gone wrong and things would progress once again.

We began to feel mighty intelligent and that feeling was well worth the 99 cents we had paid for this thing.

Final thoughts

Interlocked will appeal to all ages, and is probably one of those apps where a five year-old will be solving puzzles in record time whilst an adult could be wrestling with each one for yonks. It is designed along the lines of an IQ test, where age isn’t necessarily a big factor when it comes to aptitude. It is entertaining but also keeps your brain active, so not a bad combination for the money. By the way, if your toddler DOES find it incredibly simple to play and flies through the levels, it may be time to find out what he or she is capable of in other disciplines. Who knows? This app may reveal that you’re living with the next Mozart.

Your child may be better at it than you are.

Simple to understand. Cheap (inexpensive). Thoroughly engrossing.