Numbrix is a numerical puzzler usually featured in paper form in Parade Magazine. Now it has arrived for the iPhone, and the question is how well it translates from paper to the small screen.
Numbrix is played on a 9×9 grid where numbers 1 to 81 have to be inserted. Each number can only be used once, and have to be placed in a path. Each puzzle come with some numbers already in place. Numbers have to connect either vertically or horizontally.
It is easy to get into the game, and that is the problem with Numbrix. The first puzzle I solved took me eight minutes, but after solving five puzzles my times started to land around two minutes. Once you start to get the hang of Numbrix puzzle solving it all becomes too easy. It doesn’t take many clues to see how the puzzle should be solved.
Controls are all touch based, and when you touch a cell you get a keypad to enter the numbers with. This keypad covers one third of the screen, and once you have started entering numbers it stays until you finish the puzzle. It gets in the way and obstructs your overview of the puzzle. Another thing that is annoying is the fact that when you go back to a cell you have already entered numbers in you have to erase them before entering new numbers. Would have preferred to have them automatically changed for the numbers you want to put in. The user interface is a bit clunky to use, but looks clean and good.
There are three different levels of difficulty, and you get more once you connect to the Internet. I have a hard time finding differences between the different difficulties, and that reflects on my finish times. The puzzles in Numbrix are not in the same league as suduko when it comes to challenging you.
There is no sound in Numbrix but you can at least play your own music.
The selling point of Numbrix might still be setting the fastest times for the puzzles. Online leader boards for all 149 puzzles let you show off your skills. Or, sadly they don’t as top times are so low already that either those at the top are ninjas or they have replayed the puzzles. A screen capture of the finished puzzle on the computer in front of you let you really work up some speed. I think that only the first time you complete a puzzle should be sent to the leader board. I am really happy beating a hard puzzle in under three minutes but seeing someone else beating it in under 90 seconds feels wrong. Heck I can hardly put in all numbers in under 90 seconds, and as you have to solve the puzzle as well it all feel wrong.
I think Numbrix is much better suited for playing in paper form where you get new puzzles periodically. A puzzle every now and then is a better way to play Numbrix than playing intensely on your iPhone.
I think Numbrix is overpriced, as it won’t challenge you as hard as any sudoku out there or KENKEN. At a buck or two it might be a good deal for some waiting for the bus puzzling.
Numbrix is a numerical puzzler that is too easy to wrap your head around. You will certainly enjoy the first couple of puzzles you play but soon you will clear puzzles without much challenge at all. Even though you get to download new puzzles for free it is too expensive considering the limitation to the puzzle formula of Numbrix. A clunky interface, dubiously quick online high score players and a lack of any sound bring the score down further.