Joining Hands was quick to jump on the iPad Retina bandwagon, and the mostly-positive feedback on the App Store made it a prime candidate for review treatment.
Is Joining Hands worth the £1.99 price tag? Damn straight, fella. Don’t be put off by the cutesy title, the bright visuals or the fact that the first few levels are painfully easy; a kids’ game this ain’t.
In this era of physics-based Angry Birds clones and countless match three games, it’s really refreshing to play something different. Joining Hands is, as far as I’m aware, a unique puzzler, and it’s really rather good.
Joining Hands’ playing area is comprised of hexagons, and populated with a number of little creatures. The aim of the game is to link all the creatures so that all of their hands are being held. Aww, bless.
That might sound easy enough, but the creatures have different numbers of arms, ranging from – as the use of hexagons no doubt implies – one to six. So if, for example, a little guy has six hands, he must sit in a hexagon that’s completely open (some of 'em have bricks, y'see).
There’s also a star to collect in each level. Sometimes the solution might seem obvious, but grabbing the star (by having a creature resting on it when you finish the level) is a different matter.
Unlike many other smartphone games, the collectable here doesn’t feel like an arbitrary addition. Au contraire, the star adds a whole new level of thinkiness.
Phew, I feel like I’ve barely started. Let's continue!
Some hexagons have hearts on them. If you place a creature here, it automatically becomes happy and doesn’t mind how many of its hands are being held.
Now, let’s say you count an odd number of hands on a particular level, and there’s one hexagon with hearts on it; logic dictates that a creature with an odd number of hands must sit on the heart, with one, three or five hands left unheld.
Don’t worry if that doesn’t make sense. Joining Hands is ridiculously easy to learn, and you’ll pick up these little tactics as you go. Indeed, the learning curve is perfect.
Finally, there are – you guessed it – different styles of creature, such as the tentacled one that only wants to hold hands with its own species, the yellow one with two fixed arms, and the pink one that can’t be moved.
My favourite, however, is the little emo character, which has no arms and only wishes to be left on its own – on a hexagon with no adjacent creatures. Brilliant.
Joining Hands looks great. It’s nice and bright, and – as I mentioned before – takes advantage of the new iPad’s 2048 x 1536 Retina display. The music is rather excellent too.
My only gripe is that logic only takes you so far in Joining Hands. As you progress, it’s almost as much about trial and error as it is about skill or reasoning.
On a similar note, I occasionally had a feeling of ‘here we go again’ when faced with a new level. I’ve been dipping in and out of Joining Hands, maybe half a dozen or so levels at a time, as it’s ultimately quite samey.
Don’t get me wrong, though. Joining Hands is a lot of fun, and offers over 100 levels for your £1.99. It’ll take you a good few hours to work your way through them.
- An original and cerebral puzzler
- Looks and sounds great
- 100+ levels
- Ultimately quite samey
- Perhaps best in short(ish) bursts
- Largely trial and error in the later levels
Summary: Joining Hands is an excellent puzzler, and ideal if you like the idea of staring at your iDevice for minutes on end while cradling your chin.
Requirements: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. Requires iOS 3.0 or later.
Price: £1.99 @ App Store