Seeing a pangolin out and about doing its thing, it's easy to imagine an alternate universe where Sonic The Pangolin became the world-famous Sega mascot.

This scaly mammal isn't only cute, it also has the handy habit of curling into an armoured ball when threatened by a predator.

Placing these curious creatures into a sedate puzzler like Pangolin's Puzzle can't help but feel a little like a lost opportunity.

Solving the puzzle

Pangolin's Puzzle makes quite a play of its story of a young pangolin being torn away from her mother. The tone is rather sentimental, but it's reasonably well executed, with some fine artwork and a motley posse of baddies that's almost worthy of a lesser Tintin story.

If only the gameplay was as slick. This is a curiously awkward, knotty puzzler that belies such a straight-ahead story.

Each of the game's environments is mapped out into an isometric grid. You're then given a bunch of playing pieces, and are asked to position them on the grid according to a series of clues.

The orientation and location of these pieces must accurately meet the stipulations provided, without contradicting any of the other clues. As soon as you align the pieces appropriately, the puzzle ends and you trigger the next story section.

Off the grid

It's an interesting approach to puzzling. There are traces of minesweeper, Battleship, and Sudoku to it, but with the backbone of those language-based logical conundrums you get in tests.

Unfortunately, there's a frustrating lack of precision to the whole thing. The parameters for these puzzles are rarely clear, and each scenario could use a lot more spelling out.

On each puzzle I tackled, I found myself wanting to consult the introductory spiel again, but there was no apparent provision to do so.

On one occasion, I found myself burning through each of my limited hints just to give me a nudge as to what I should be doing.

Logical choice

There's nothing wrong with a tough logical challenge, of course. But you do need a solid, clearly set-out premise to kick off from. The lack of clarity here may leave you feeling as lost as a young orphaned pangolin.

Pangolin's Puzzle is one of the fresher mobile puzzlers I've played of late, and there's a lot to admire about it. But the whole set-up needs refining, streamlining, and indeed simplifying to match its inviting premise.