Jigsaw Story: A good puzzle simulator that works best on bigger screens (review)
In all the game genres available in the Play Store, sometimes you may want to game in a much more chill, passive way. No quick reflexes. No bells, whistles, and music blaring at you. No multi-level story line or myriad of villains and their evil armies to survive.
Something like, say a puzzle. A jigsaw puzzle. But the real ones can be a pain to even get started, with trying to find space. And once you start, you’ve kinda committed that space until you’ve either solved the puzzle, or gave up and just put it all back in the box. In any case it’s not an easy start, and the commitment level is high.
How about a jigsaw puzzle on your device? How about multiple ones? With an intertwining story? Where you can decide the size and complexity before beginning, and where you can leave off without any ridiculous mess on your dining table?
There is a free option in the Play Store, called Jigsaw Story (download from the Play Store here). Jigsaw Story gives you multiple puzzles at a difficulty of your choosing, all while trying to put some semblance of a story between puzzles to pull you along. Let’s take a quick tour of this game and see if it’s a fit for you. It’s a family-friendly offering by the developer Happy Square Studio.
Setup is easy, but this is where you do have some choices to make. After downloading from the Play Store, you simply open the game, and you’re brought right to the tutorial screen.
Here’s where you can establish just the kind of experience you want. You can choose the first of seven different series of puzzles (each series comprises 10 puzzles in total), each with a different theme. You can adjust how many pieces (40, 80, or more), and whether the pieces can be rotated or fixed (please start with fixed; you’ll get overwhelmed fast otherwise).
From there you’re off into your puzzle! On the right is a sliding tray of all your loose pieces. Start taking some off and putting the on the board (edge and corner pieces first, right?). You can move these pieces as you wish throughout the puzzle. As you find your first match, drop it next to it’s mate and you will get a chime and glow-flare indicating they are now locked. Once locked you can still move them, but the locked pieces will now move as one unit.
Peeking at the final image.
On the lower-right you have several settings and tools at your disposal. Settings include turning audio on or off (background music is a pretty generic ding-a-ling tune). Tools are way more interesting; here you can preview the finished image as many times as you want (though only as a thumbnail; not allowing you to “cheat” too easily). You can also click a button that “filters” the available pieces in your tray to edge & corner pieces first (if you’re like me, this is your first move in the game!). Also, if your screen gets too busy, there is a ‘recall’ button that pulls all the individual pieces off the screen and back into the tray on the right side.
Once you complete a puzzle (hooray!) you gain points that you can use to chose which puzzle you want to tackle next. While there is a series of 10, you can choose the sequence that you solve them. Also, between puzzles, the game gives you a short story based on the character(s) and backgrounds within the puzzle theme. Granted, these seem a bit forced at times, but they do offer another level of interaction with the game.
The puzzles themselves are very aesthetically-pleasing; with each of the seven themes providing a wide array of visuals both within an individual puzzle, and going into deeper puzzles. And the graphics of picking, moving, and placing pieces is rather satisfying, relatively-speaking.
The stories leave a little to be desired.
The big complaint (literally relatively-speaking) is that you need a bigger device screen to truly enjoy this game; 6″ minimum, in my opinion. I played on an LG G6 (5.7″ diagonal) and I found myself squinting more than I’d like. This game is most at home on a tablet or similar-sized device. Otherwise the pieces are just too small. You solve a puzzle by finding small visual clues within each piece, and on a phone-sized screen it’s just too difficult. On a tablet this would be a truly enjoyable experience.
Overall I was very impressed with Jigsaw Story. If you want to just chill out with an Android game, and be able to pick-up/put-down at your leisure, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more enjoyable and relaxing alternative.