Do you remember the days when someone would talk about a puzzle and the first thing that came into your head was a picture of a jigsaw puzzle? The jigsaw puzzle, much like the board game, has become almost obsolete, yet I promise that if you take the time to put those pieces out on the table once again, you’ll rediscover how interesting (and calming) a pursuit it can be.
That being said, if you have a dining table like mine, covered in papers, pens, soaps from the last hotel you stayed in, and a “project” that’s been ongoing for three years, you may not be able to fit a whistle on there, let alone a jigsaw puzzle.
This is one of those times when technology can offer an olde tyme experience without the physical space requirement. With Halloween just around the corner, I figured I should find a Halloween app that appealed to all ages. I did initially look for an app about DIY costumes, but couldn’t find anything that wasn’t cheesy and/or useless. All I’ll ask you to do is take the time to make your own. Store-bought is just simply not as much fun.
In the meantime, while you’re trying to come up with a creative costume idea, give the Hell Puzzle app a go. Sure, it sounds scary, but it isn’t! It’s a jigsaw puzzle app with lots of Halloween scenes from which to choose. It’s also a free app, so a treat rather than a trick. Mwah-ha-ha-ha …
How it works
You may think that this part of the review is unnecessary, as what person out of their first set of Pampers doesn’t understand the concept of the jigsaw puzzle? But of course, as this is an app, it can offer a number of different options that the boxed version can’t.
It opens to an image of a pumpkin in a witch’s hat with a range of words across the top of the screen: “Easy,” “Dangerously,” “Scary” and “Horribly.” Using the pointer positioned on the bar underneath the words, you can move from the easiest version of the puzzle (4 pieces in 2×2 configuration) to the most difficult (300 pieces in 15×20 configuration).
Once you’ve figured out what level you think you can handle, tap the “Play” pumpkin on the screen, which takes you to the picture, now made up of puzzle pieces.
There is a clock in the top left-hand corner and once you tap on “Tap to start,” the pieces break apart and fall onto the “table” and the timer begins.
The full picture is there for reference so you can start moving the pieces into place on it. If the piece you’re trying to fit is not sitting at the correct angle, just use your finger to spin it until it is, then move it to where you think it belongs. As the default setting for this app allows it to “grab” the piece when it’s basically in its correct position, you’ll know pretty quickly if you’re on the right track. It’s a useful feature; certainly more effective than the old school method of hammering a piece home to “make it fit.”
When you slot the final piece into place, the clock stops and your score comes up on the screen. Now you can choose to do the same puzzle again, but with more pieces, or move on to the next one.
There are settings to adjust to suit your preferences. You can choose to have the pieces stick to the picture when they’re in place, or not, and remove the sound effects, change the type of timer (or lose it completely), change the background, and even adjust the shape of the puzzle pieces.
To get to the next puzzle, tap on “Next” in the bottom right-hand corner of the main menu screen, or to see all the puzzle pictures available, tap on “Collections” in the bottom middle spot.
The top left-hand corner has a “?” that is supposed to take you to a help section. Alas, you will get a brief flash of what might assist you and then it disappears. Either it’s meant to be a real test of your cognitive skills or it’s a bug in the app. I’m thinking it’s the latter.
When I played it
I was very ambitious at the beginning, choosing to go with a number of puzzle pieces between “Scary” and “Horribly.”
As my talent for spinning the puzzle pieces was not impressive and the timer seemed very oppressive, up there in the corner, judging me, I found myself bungling things all over the place. I had put too much pressure on myself and my puzzle was suffering as a result.
I went back to the main menu and ratcheted down the number of pieces I’d be playing with. The second attempt was much easier, obviously, but it also gave me a good chance to get used to the controls, particularly when it came to rotating things. This is the tack I suggest you take when you first try it. There will plenty of time afterwards to challenge yourself with 30 squillion pieces. What would that level be called? Dastardly? Dreadful? Ghastly?
The mind boggles.
I used to love jigsaw puzzles, so this app really appealed to me. I know my nephews and niece would really like it too, as that option to reduce or increase the number of pieces means it can be adjusted to work for all ages.
I also love Halloween, so we were onto a double winner here. It’s a free app with no heinous ads or in-app purchases, so what’s not to like? I would have given it three stars, but they need to sort that “Help” bug I mentioned earlier. Yes, I’m a monster.
- Cost: Free
- Seller: d-Studio Ltd.
- Devices: iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch
- Rating: E10+ (Everyone 10 and older)
- Two and a half stars
- Pros: Free. Colorful. Fun. Lots of options.
- Cons: “Help” is buggy.