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From 1913 to Now
Puzzle solving has been a favorite pastime for decades. It’s one of the best things an individual can do to keep their brain fit while being thoroughly challenged and entertained. Figuring out various words, letters, and number combinations for about 15 minutes a day can make a significant impact on mental sharpness. They provide players with a cognitive workout in memory, vocabulary, and serves as an excellent stress reliever. These games are not new. In 1913 the first crossword puzzle was published in the United States by New York World. Since then playing with words has become a daily habit with people across the globe. The traditional pen and paper teasers we’ve all come to love is now available on Facebook. In Puzzler’s The Amazing Puzzle Factory players enter a virtual city occupied by factories. Each day users compete with their friends for the highest scores or IQ status by entering the buildings to complete Word Search, Crossword, Kriss Kross, and Sudoku games.
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Crossword Puzzles to Advanced Sudoku, the Gameplay
This isn’t your typical crossword or Sudoku infused game. Players enter an interactive world where letters and numbers spring to life with colorful animations. There are four core factories situated in the virtual city where players can access popular classics like word searches and even a round of criss cross. Most of the gameplay consists of users tackling one of their favorite or all of the available teasers. The scoring and point system is based on how fast each puzzle can be completed correctly. There are literally hundreds of challenging puzzles to unlock and solve.
In Word Search players must locate hidden words within a grid. They may appear in numerous ways. When a word has been spotted users must click on particular letter and drag the mouse to select. If it’s right it’s quickly crossed off the vocabulary list. The faster a puzzle is solved the higher the score. The Crossword factory features a drop down menu of clues and a white board very similar to traditional newspaper or magazine versions. Players simply read various clues for down or across positions and type in the correct answer. Questions can be easy like a five letter word for an intense light beam to more complex hints.
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Juiced to Play
In Kriss Kross also referred to as Criss Cross players are given an empty crossword puzzle grid with a list of words instead of clues. Users must click and drag the words into their appropriate slots. The Sudoku factory is filled with 6x6 to 9x9 grids that become more challenging as a player progresses. The objective is to place the corresponding numbers into the rows where all columns and lines have one of each number listed. After each round scores are tallied. IQ points, tokens, time score, and grade averages are rewarded. IQ points equal experience and is only given upon the completion of a new puzzle. Tokens are the bread and butter of the Amazing Puzzle Factory. They enable users to unlock more puzzles and buy power-ups. The game has a strange energy system. As users solve teasers they burn up juice that’s necessary to keep their factory functioning. Juice is fully regenerated every six hours. The long waiting period is frustrating. Players have the option to purchase a small refill for tokens or purchase a longer lasting recovery from the shop. This feature is designed to get addicted puzzlers to use real money in the form of credits towards power-ups or juices. There’s a few varieties including an infinite juice that prevents energy from running out permanently but it’s extremely pricey at 990 Facebook Credits.
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Nuts & Bolts of the User Interface/ Controls
The interface and controls are easy to navigate. A quick click on any factory takes players into a vault where they can choose their game and select the difficulty. The four primary levels are easy, casual, hard, and master. The last two modes require bolts to access. Similar to the juice power-ups bolts and nuts involve buying credits. Double clicking automatically unlocks a game. It can cost anywhere from 25 to 40 tokens. Once the game starts a clock at the top of screen keeps track of the time. There’s no limit on how long a user can take to complete a puzzle but it does affect the overall score. Convenient drop down menus neatly contain words or clues that players can use as reference or literally drag onto the board. Words and numbers can be entered into grids or highlighted easily with the mouse.
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Machines Gone Haywire, the Graphics
There’s also a fun mini-game for users with high scores to earn additional tokens. Players enter a room with two machines on the fritz propelling various paper wads, wrenches, and broken pieces at lightening speed. A hand controlled by the mouse is used to catch random tokens that shoot out of the machine. It’s a nice break from the puzzles. The graphics are very colorful with engaging animations. The city’s scenery is nicely depicted with lush green fields and lakes reflecting ripples in the waves. Each factory looks different with windmills or industrial equipment nearby. The Word Search factory has flashing strobe lights stationed outside and all of the buildings bounce up and down when highlighted. The interactive features add a whimsical vibe. Wheels turn as vault doors open and windows with floating bubbles are visible in the background.
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The game features a cinematic soundtrack with an adventurous yet soothing rhythm. As players explore the village of factories they have the option of turning the melody off or on. The continuous loop of the theme song may be distracting depending on the difficulty of the puzzle or level of concentration a player requires. All of the sound effects are very playful. It’s almost reminiscent of a cartoon. Every click makes a bubble noise or chime. When challenges are solved correctly a crowd cheering can be heard. Claps and shouts of praise congratulate users for scoring high. The extra details embedded in the game add a nice touch to an experience that is usually silent.
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It’s hard to find all the classic pen and paper brain teasers in one game. The Amazing Puzzle Factory combines animation with traditional Word Search, Crossword, Kriss Kross, and Sudoku games for an entertaining experience. Get nostalgic with word searches or tricky criss cross puzzlers. Fans of crossword puzzles will enjoy flexing their vocabulary muscles while learning interesting trivia in this unusual Facebook title. Advanced players can test their logic and mathematics solving complex Sudoku grids. Players of all ages will find this game addicting. It’s something for everyone. If you’re looking for a fun challenge it’s definitely worth checking out.
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Source: Author's own experience.
All Images by Ange P.
Brief History of Crossword Puzzles - http://www.crosswordtournament.com