Thursday, May 22, 2014

Paint by Numbers Puzzles

I've always been a big fan of puzzle magazines. Dell/Penny Press/Games, you name it. I'd take them to school and do them in class because I'd get all the homework done in the time we had to work on it in class and then would otherwise sit around bored. Anyway, the magazine 'Math Puzzles & Logic Problems' was my favourite one, and of the puzzles that would show up in those Paint by Numbers was my favourite. It's also known as Picross I believe. You get a grid with a bunch of numbers on the top and left and need to use the process of elimination to work out what squares of the grid needed to be shaded in to make a picture. (It's the closest I'd ever get to 'art'.)

Anyway, the other day I started seeing Facebook spam for a game that looked like it might contain Paint by Numbers grids. I haven't given a Facebook game a try since the debacle that was Plants vs Zombies Adventures and I figured I'd give it a spin to see what was up. I've had a lot of fun with some Facebook games, after all, and I do like me some Paint by Numbers...

The game is called Riddle Stones and it is a bit of a debacle. I set it up to only post updates to myself, not to my friends, and went off to play it. I played through something like 12 levels in the first day, so probably 30 puzzles or so. It had posted 50 things to my feed. FIFTY! And that's all the junk it posts without asking me about it. It also prompted me at least once per puzzle, often more, to make posts on my own to my feed. Presumably those posts would be seen by my friends because it would be me posting them, not the app on its own. Every time I got a faster time than anyone who had played the game it wanted me to brag about it. Every 3 puzzles it wanted to brag about that too.

The UI was either very badly designed or deliberately terrible to be confusing. After having Who Wants To Be A Millionaire steal 5 cents by tricking me into clicking a button that changed meaning I'm leaning towards the latter. I'm actually not sure how alternating if I wanted to click green or orange or nothing was confusing me into paying them money but I'm sure it would have happened at some point. It kept asking me to make it full screen before every single puzzle. Why? Once, sure. That might be helpful? After I decline to do it? Leave me alone!

The game itself was pretty boring when it came right down to it. I'm used to doing 25x25 or bigger puzzles; these ones were all either 5x5 or 10x10 with most of the grid filled in for me in advance. You can't make a puzzle with all that much thought in a 5x5 grid, nor can you make a puzzle that looks really cool. The game seemed to be designed around doing things fast, not smart. You could click in the wrong spot several times before you'd 'die' so there wasn't much sense in using logic. I can spend a couple seconds to work out the right answer or I can just click a couple extra times and brute force it. Blah.

But what it did do was prompt me to go looking for some real Paint by Number puzzles. I found a cool site that looks to have a ton of puzzles of all shapes and sizes, including some with extra colours. I like it! Interesting, challenging, free, not annoying to me, and not annoying to my Facebook friends. Wins for everybody!

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