Shape Shuffle is an exciting new iPhone, iPad and Android puzzle game format with more potential than it ultimately realises.
At its best, it is mind-bendingly addictive, and you’ll also find fellow commuters looking over your shoulder while you undertake the strange ritual of manipulating different coloured shapes as quickly as possible.
It has the hallmarks of a classic puzzle game: there’s often that feeling of ‘just one more turn’, the inevitable frustrating yet within-reach puzzle whose solution is right beneath your nose, and an original format that is set to start a trend on the App and Google Play Stores.
It is also a great concept that hasn’t fully been realised, but can easily achieve this in future updates, making Shape Shuffle a game to download, play, and watch evolve.
First, the basics: it’s a free game with over 100 puzzles that require you to select and rotate shapes and arrange them in layers in order to match the appearance of the reference image.
The quicker you do it, the greater your bragging rights.
There’s a level of difficulty for everybody ranging from kids and puzzle newbies to expert shape shufflers.
Credit must also go to the game’s mechanics. Simply tapping, rotating and changing layers is all that is required, meaning any user can learn to play Shape Shuffle.
Cleverly, the game asks you whether or not you like a puzzle once you complete it, and feeds your response back anonymously to Sly Trunk for future development.
The one obvious area of improvement for puzzles is for the game’s reference-images to resemble actual objects.
This, mixed with the current puzzles which are jumbles of shapes and layers, would add a bit of soul and meaning to the various themes that the puzzles are broken into.
I feel the game needs a bit of soul: it tapped into my OCD tendencies and I struggled to put it down, a credit to its refreshing take on puzzle games.
But I really couldn’t tell you which puzzle I liked most, or even where to find a particular puzzle within the game, as I have no way of recalling or identifying the array of shapes.
Puzzles that loosely resemble objects would be a great inclusion to further unlock the full potential of the game.
Developer Sly Trunk has also catered for puzzle junkies with the inclusion of in-app purchases once you’ve completed the game’s original puzzles.
There is again an unlimited potential for the developer to create new themes and breeds of mind-bending puzzles. It’d be fantastic to see themes relating to events such as Christmas, football finals and so forth.
The game also lacks social integration which makes completing a puzzle somewhat of an anti-climax if you’re a person who wants to tell the world about it.
Not only would such a feature help to promote the game, but it would allow adult puzzle solvers to compare their best times to their friends’ times and along the way encourage replay value.
On the flip side, its lack of social connectivity makes Shape Shuffle an excellent game for kids to play with parents. There’s no need to worry about anyone else other than yourself and junior as you work together to complete puzzles and help to develop your child’s problem solving skills.
And Shape Shuffle is a great tool for such a situation. In fact, I’d highly recommend it to teachers who utilise iPads in their classroom.
Overall, Shape Shuffle has me hooked, and is one of the most original puzzle games I’ve had the pleasure of playing this year. If you’re looking for an alternative to match-three puzzle games, then you’ve now found your new addiction.
Now go forth, shuffle some shapes, and be obsessed!