Starting off Puzzlings as a jolly, bulbous, orange chap with simple eyes, mouth and a Charlie Brown whiff of hair, my temptation was to stick with the default avatar. He looked kinda fun.
Customisation may be an underlying layer - each of the 12 stages contains 16 items to collect - but the gameplay is enough to keep you interested. In fact, it could be argued that stripped of its item collection elements, Puzzlings's appeal to fans of the match-three genre would be increased.
Like an evolved version of Bejeweled, the game's logic is simple. You have to match at least three blocks of the same colour for them to disappear, which provides you with points and enables more blocks to fall down from above onto the 6x6 grid. These newcomers can then trigger multiple chains of matches which provide you with the big scores.
Manipulating the blocks is carried out neatly with a linear sliding movement that enables you to swap blocks across any distance. You can also rotate selections of 2x2, 3x3 and 4x4 blocks by tracing out their width and height. These rotate clockwise and, if not tapped to stop, the 90 degree rotation will continue three times, back around to the starting point.
It takes a bit of practice to get the hang of this, but the starting motion is distinct enough that you won't often trigger it by mistake.
Completing Puzzlings's mechanic are the special circular shapes you have to recreate. Depending on the type of stage you're on, you may have to complete between one or five of these. Each consists of four quarter circle blocks that need to be move and rotated to make a complete circle.
This is just a case of timing as each level is controlled by a timer that you fill up by making colour matches. Reconstructing a circle generally means you won't be making colour matches, though, so you have to ensure you have enough time on the meter to get the job done or it's Game Over.
Still, Puzzlings offers a fairly gentle learning curve and you shouldn't suffer many failures until you’re over half way through the game.
By this stage, the complexity of the puzzles you’re dealing with has increased to four colours as well as 2x1 blocks, which are harder to match and create obstacles on the playing grid in terms of rotations and block movement. Later on, you also have to deal with 2x2 blocks.
So, even treated as a pure puzzle game rather than a puzzle game with item collection, Puzzlings provides a good mixture of frantic finger movement and brain tickling fun.
The presentation in terms of the graphics and audio - including the colourful world of Wardrobia locations - also adds to the experience. And, if you so desire, you can pose and take photos of your customised avatar against different background and email them to your friends.
Personally, that sort of thing didn't add as much to the game as I initially thought it might, but nevertheless Puzzlings remains an enjoyable experience.
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