Puzzle Planets review

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the Spirit of God was moving over the face of the waters.
According to the Big Bang model, the universe was originally in an extremely hot and dense state that expanded rapidly.

Creation can be seen from different perspectives, but no matter if your focus is on religion or on science the demands for life are the same. And when life is created it takes immense power, and everything changes. In Puzzle Planets we get a combination of the scientific approach to the evolution of a planet with the perspective of a God.

img_3815Divided into three mini games the creation of life is simplified into core demands. First the tectonic plates covering the planet need to be placed in a tangram kind of speed challenge. Spinning the planet looking for the appropriate hole for the piece at hand is more a matter of speed than a matter of puzzle precision. The correct hole even lights up slightly as you pass over it.
The second mini game is were you create seismic activity using three different actions on icons as they appear. Create oceans, mountains and volcanoes using pinch in/out and tapping. This is a quick, and quite easy part of the game, and all it demands is that you can keep the different icons apart.
The third mini game lets you create life on the planet by adding water to the land. Swipe across the water, and make sure to cover all pieces of land with green lush vegetation. Disasters strike, and have to be put out otherwise there is a risk of volcanic activity destroying the land. This is the only part of the game that I found to be quite fun.
Puzzle Planets challenge you with time limits for the levels. At two minutes it gets harder and harder to finish all the tasks. I like that the game can be challenging, but on the other hand there is no time for the individual mini games to develop. With the three mini games overlapping the game fails to hook me, and being a casual game that is a core element it needs to succeed. Now I finish a level, and feel very little need to replay for a better score or try the next level.

img_3796There are 15 levels in the game, and if you are one of those that get hooked by the game it will be too little. These can be finished in an hour once you get quick in your creation of planets. There are local high scores, and online connectivity through Facebook Connect. Not having achievements or using one of the free social gaming platforms are huge flaws to a casual puzzle game.

The presentation is nice with great backgrounds, excellent and informative menus and fluid movement when rotating the planet. The music is ambient electronica, and the sound effects are ok. You can play your own music as well. Overall the presentation frames the game quite well, but the actual gaming elements and pacing let the game down.

Puzzle Planets does not manage to create a coherent gaming experience, and it fails to hook me. The three mini games fail to develop, and two of them could probably be removed completely. The fact that the game becomes quite challenging is the only reason to get it in my opinion. Sadly there are only 15 levels, and once done there is no reason to replay the game. To me this is a great idea that hasn’t been executed properly.

Final Rating


Puzzle Planets $0.99
Version: 1.2
Seller: National Geographic Society

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