It's hard to keep us out of the kitchen, for no other reason than we just really enjoy food! Today we offer up a dilectable assortment of gourmet gadgets.Subscribe with iTunes (audio) Subscribe with iTunes (video) Subscribe with RSS (audio) Subscribe with RSS (video) EPISODE 156
Twisty Text is a thoughtfully designed letter-arrangement game with an inventive interface that encourages experimentation and fast-paced play. As with similar games in this genre, Twisty Text challenges you to find as many words as you can from a set number of letters (five, six, or seven) before a timer runs out. What makes Twisty Text so novel is how its interface makes such effective use of the touch screen: you can quickly drag letters back and forth to form words, and then swipe to underline every new guess. You can also press a button (or shake your device) to … Read more
Levers is a clever puzzle game with an artsy aesthetic and relaxing--almost hypnotic--sound, graphics, and gameplay. Spare by design, this balancing game makes even learning how to play part of the challenge. The object is simple: you have to keep a series of increasingly bizarre objects out of the water, by tilting your phone and dragging and dropping them onto a mobile-like set of hangers that you build out as the game progresses.
Without spoiling too many of the game's surprises, you soon discover that the objects--including a bowling ball, a pipe-smoking snowman, and a birdhouse with three very … Read more
Boxed In is a simple but still tricky arcade-puzzle game in which you help a cute cartoon robot escape from increasingly complex levels by pushing boxes around. Using the app's slow-paced, swipe-based interface, you can move the robot up, down, left, or right--but you can only push boxes, not pull them, so you'll have to plan out your moves well in advance to clear a path to each level's exit, while collecting required "gears" and using boxes to deactivate force fields along the way.
The interface can seem sluggish at first, but thankfully an undo … Read more
Geared is a straightforward, physics-based puzzle game where you strategically place interlocking gears into a free-form virtual gearbox so that every gear ends up spinning. The graph-paper-themed interface is simple: you drag gears of five different sizes (a set number on each level) up from the bottom of the screen, releasing your finger to "drop" a gear onto the next gear below it. You can move gears around, swapping them in and out, and precise placement often requires trial and error.
The game's 80 levels get increasingly more difficult, especially as shaded "no drop" zones … Read more
Word-game enthusiasts around the world may find a new addiction in WordZap Deluxe--if they can swallow the $20 fee, that is.
Part Boggle and part Scrabble, WordZap offers a set of letters from which you must create enough words to beat your computer opponent. As in Boggle, if you and the computer create the same word, the word cancels out. A timer adds another constraint. You can increase or decrease the difficulty level in several ways. WordZap assigns a handicap that adjusts to your performance but which you can also change manually. You can also change settings related to word-length, … Read more
Super Collapse Puzzle Gallery 4 is a fun and addictive puzzle game. Stay away from this one unless you have time to spare, because it's hard to stop playing once you start!
The game's premise is simple enough: each puzzle is a grid filled with different colored squares, and the object is to get rid of all of them. When a user clicks on a square with at least two squares of the same color adjacent to it, all those squares disappear, and any that were above collapse downward. Users must systematically select which groups of squares they'… Read more
BrainsBreaker provides a set of digital jigsaw puzzles to challenge puzzle beginners and experts alike. With excellent customization and easy play, this program will create die-hard puzzle nuts.
The program's interface was a pleasure, with big buttons and intuitive flow. Users should not have to consult the Help file to work their way through and to begin solving. First, users select the puzzle they want to solve. A screen showcasing the pictures of each puzzle (ranging from nature landscapes, animals, architecture, and more) allows users to quickly pick. Next, users are given full control of customization, allowing the picture … Read more
Nintendo games: you either like them or hate them. For most of the world, it's like. Among Nintendo's various cutesy-quirky franchises, a recent one--and one of Nintendo's best--happens to be the gorgeously designed puzzle adventure series known as Professor Layton. Although Japan has already seen four installments of the top-hatted man and his chipper little boy companion, English-speaking territories are only up to installment No. 2.
Professor Layton and the Curious Village, which hit the DS in early 2008, was a surprise critical hit and successfully balanced old-fashioned brainteasers with a graphic adventure. Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box is now in stores, but CNET editors Jeff and Scott got a chance to play over the weekend. Their takes are below.
Scott: Finally, a DS game worth buying! No offense, but it's been a rough couple of months since Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars and Rhythm Heaven hit in the spring. Nintendo's been very quiet with its own first-party releases, and Professor Layton 2 is one of its first big titles to sink your Nintendo fanboy teeth into. But even if you're not a fan, you might want to consider becoming one.
As in Curious Village, the game opens with beautiful voice-acting and a hand-drawn animation style, a throwback that almost looks like work from Hiyao Miyazaki's Studio Ghibli. While it's not exactly clear what the mystery is and why exactly Professor Layton and his boy wonder Luke end up daytripping on a train called the Molentary Express, give the game some patience and enjoy the random (and sometimes forced) puzzles. Soon enough you'll fall into the rhythm and enjoy a pretty excellent hybrid casual/adventure game.
The Professor Layton games make excellent use of the touch screen, both in navigation and puzzle-solving. One hundred fifty new brainteasers are part of the package, and Nintendo promises more available as free downloads like it did with Curious Village. It's a meaty but not epic amount of gameplay, and the 150 puzzles will take some time to figure out. In terms of the number of mysteries of sub-games available in Diabolical Box, it easily meets Curious Village and at times exceeds it.… Read more
French Verb Games allows users to practice conjugating French verbs. Its intuitive interface and variety of activities make it a great choice for students studying French.
The program's interface is basic, with large graphical buttons for each of the program's functions. Despite the program's name, there's nothing fancy going on here, no sounds or animations or attempts at making verb conjugation particularly fun. In fact, much of the program consists of grids of words and phrases. The program is not necessarily entertaining, but it is an effective way to learn French verbs. A built-in Help file … Read more