Review: Tangrams and Tangrams Lite by Brian Wuster
This review originally appeared within iLounge’s iOS Gems series within the compilation article, iPhone Gems: Pool, Puzzle, Music + Slots Games. Additional details may be found in the original article.
The final titles in this week’s games roundup are Tangrams ($2) and Tangrams Lite (Free) by Brian Wuster. Like TanZen and TanZen Lite, titles we previously reviewed, these are based on the Chinese tangrams puzzle game, where you start with the silhouette of a large, angular shape, and are given seven smaller, angular puzzle pieces that can be rotated and placed inside to recreate it. The smaller pieces can’t overlap, and they also can’t exceed the boundaries of the silhouette.
These two Tangrams titles offer a couple of advantages to iPhone users. First, they offer even more puzzles for people to enjoy: Tangrams has over 500 to TanZen’s nearly 300, and though this developer doesn’t note how many puzzles it offers in its free version—TanZen Lite includes 18—the fact that you can get any puzzles to play for free is nice. Second, the interface here is straightforward: there’s a tray of pieces at the bottom of the screen, you touch the tray to dispense pieces, and then rotate pieces by tapping them over and over to turn them on 45-degree increments. We preferred TanZen’s multi-touch rotation system overall, but liked the fact that Tangrams turns the pieces in the only steps you’ll need to actually solve the puzzles.
Where Tangrams stumbles is in the rest of the experience. TanZen lets you choose from all of its puzzles using pages of a menu; Tangrams and Lite both present you with randomly selected puzzles, giving you no choice between them. TanZen’s interface looks and feels nicer—a lot nicer, really—and the full version costs less. If we had to buy just one tangram title, it would be TanZen, but given the presence of the Lite options and the relatively low prices here, we’d suggest trying both for free; you might find that you want both. iLounge Rating (Tangrams Lite): B. iLounge Rating (Tangrams): B-.