AR is a technology that's just starting to find its feet on mobile. There are some interesting games out there, but a lot of them are trying to be too much, pushing boundaries that haven't really been established yet.
PuzzlAR World Tour on the other hand is an experience that has a neat idea at its heart, and builds on it, quite literally in a really pleasing way. It's not pushing out any boats, but it does show that AR is something that can really work on mobile.
AR you sitting comfortably?
Even in the hustle and bustle of the expo floor at Pocket Gamer Connects, the game quickly finds a surface that it can work on. This isn't the sort of thing that spans floors and gets caught on walls. Get a table and you're good to go.
To start things off I'm looking at a 3D model of the Statue of Liberty. Then it sort of falls apart, and it’s up to me to put it back together again. It’s split into chunks, and they’re floating in the air above the base of the now disassembled monument.
Grabbing one is a matter of pushing on the screen. Keep your finger down and move the phone around and you're dragging the piece through the real world. Find the correct place to put it and it snaps in.
There's a simple pleasure to the experience. Everything feels robust and tactile, and navigating around the monuments is as easy as just wandering around them. You can swipe and pinch to change your perspective as well.
Like I say, it's not the most earth shattering use of the tech, but it actually works. And it adds something to the play that wouldn't be there otherwise. In a way that's far more important than it blowing your mind.
AR definitely has a future, and it's games like PuzzlAR World Tour that are going to open up that future. It’s smart, it's fun, and perhaps most importantly, it actually works.