Thursday, August 15, 2013

Kindle Fire Free App of the Day: Picranium

Today's Free App of the Day is Picranium Picross
Originally $0.99

This is a pic cross. If you are familiar with the game minesweeper, you'll be familiar with the idea. You are shown a grid with numbers by the side. The numbers tell you how many squares on the grid are filled in that row. If there are multiple numbers, that means that squares are filled and must have a blank cell between them. For example 1 1 on a three square row would mean that the first square is marked, the second is not and the third is. The filled in squares create a picture, hence the "pic." When you complete a game, the board flashes, switching between the filled-in grid and a graphic of the picture it's supposed to be.

You start in "small" mode, where the grids are no bigger than 6x6. Finishing easy mode unlocks medium mode, 35 puzzles no bigger than 20x20. The puzzles are not necessarily square. Once in a mode, you can play the puzzles in that mode in any order. You tap once to select a block, tap again to fill it with a green square. You can also fill blocks known to be empty with gray x's. Tap on the "X" in the bottom of the screen to turn on the x's, then tap once to select block and tap again to set the X. Tap on the green square on the bottom of the screen to go back to the green squares. Press and hold on a square, and then drag, to fill a whole line of squares. This is useful when you know the whole row is filled--on a 5x5 grid, for example, when the number given is five.

The reviews indicate that on Android devices, hitting "back" resets the puzzle. This is not true on my Kindle Fire HD. Hitting back in the menu bar pauses the game and lets you go back.

There is a timed element. The speed you play at determines gold, silver or bronze medals. When you start the game, the elapsed time starts running at the bottom along with your time goal for a given medal level. No pressure.When you finish the game, in the game pick screen, if you've won a medal, it is shown along with the graphic for the particular game. You can replay games to try to win a higher medal level. Or not worry about the medals at all.

There are settings--you can turn off game sounds, haptic feedback (vibration), and whether completed puzzle images are shown in the puzzle selection grid. The smaller grids don't expand to fill a larger tablet's screen, but that's a small nitpick. It will play at any orientation. 

I think the reviews do it a disservice. I think gameplay is good and it's attractive. I'd give it four stars. Not perfect but fun. I can see, though, if you have a non-Fire Android device, the back key thing would be a real annoyance.

4 of 10 reviews are four stars and above.

These apps are compatible with the original Fire and with my Fire HD 8.9" 4G. To tell if an app works for your Fire HD or other Android device registered to your Amazon account, click on the above link and look on the right side of the web page.  Amazon will tell you if it will work with your registered device.

Have fun!

Also check out the other digital deals from Amazon, including great deals on MP3s and videos:

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