Chinese Puzzle Path Challenges the Mind, Soothes the Soul

Price: $.99     Score: 8/10     By A. PapachristosChinese Puzzle Path - Matt Dunham

When someone mentions puzzles, my mind automatically imagines a thousand tiny jigsaw pieces scattered about the floor, all designed to fit together to create a fantastic picture of some sort.  But in the case of Chinese Puzzle Path by Matt Dunham, these puzzles are all about strategically dismantling the carefully laid out tiles on the screen.

With 50 unique puzzles and 30 bonus classic levels promised in the App Store description, Chinese Puzzle Path requires forethought.  Users must start a chain reaction that eliminates every tile from the screen in order to successfully solve the puzzle and proceed to the next level.  Each puzzle becomes increasingly difficult, unlockable only by solving the one before.

The main menu features the Play Challenge, More Games and Play Classic buttons (though Play Classic has been blacked out for some unknown reason).  In the bottom right corner, users will find music controls, allowing them to pause play and fast-forward through the array of original music created by Kevin MacLeod.  Challenge 1 ends up being your only starting option, for you must unlock the various challenges by completing all five levels within one challenge with fewer than four failed attempts before proceeding to the next.

What’s interesting about Chinese Puzzle Path, however, is that the player must figure out where to begin and in which direction they should travel.   To solve each puzzle, users must eliminate all the tiles on the screen.  The entire first challenge comes easily, for users are guided by the built-in tutorial that teaches them all the intricacies of the game.  Users will learn that they must press and hold their starting tile, dragging it in the direction they wish to move.  The move will travel in the selected direction, moving only up, down, left and right, never diagonally.

If you have effectively solved the puzzle, users need only tap continue to move to the next puzzle.  However, if tiles remain at the end of your move, the tiles will reset and the failed attempt indicator will light up.  While some puzzles do indeed have more than one possible solution, the tiles are set to react with a default nature if they come upon obstacles.  If the tiles can no longer travel in their current direction, they will automatically turn right before ever heading left, and up before down.

The puzzles themselves are thought provoking, fun and entertaining, but the game’s true allure may just stem from its soundtrack.  Chinese Puzzle Path’s smooth, Asian vibe calms and soothes, making it much easier to think, thereby causing the player to relax and think more clearly.  Honestly, I found myself pausing just to listen to the music and allow my mind to drift away.  Very rarely does a game’s soundtrack actually contribute to you game play success, but Chinese Puzzle Path’s repertoire certainly sends gamers in the right direction.

Chinese Puzzle Path [iTunes Link] requires iPhone OS 3.0 or later and is compatible with iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. A small expedite fee was paid by the developer to speed up the publication of this review.

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