The game I plucked at random from the App Store was On/Off, and it was with great reluctance that I eventually went to bed.
On/Off is a sliding puzzle game, and while it’s by no means the first such game (Slide Circus was ok, I guess), it’s easily one of – if not the best.
The real standout feature in On/Off is the crisp, clean, Letterpress-style UI. I have a thing about user interfaces, having studied them at uni, and poor design really gets my proverbial goat. No such concerns here. None at all.
Instead of reassembling a picture as in most traditional sliding puzzle games, On/Off tasks you with connecting tiles with switches around the perimeter of the playing area. If there are two blue switches, you’ll want to put some blue tiles between them. Easy.
Well, I say “easy”; some of the On/Off levels are insanely taxing. I just spent almost 30 minutes on one particular puzzle (check out the level below in the shape of a number 6), but it was incredibly satisfying when I finally put it all together.
On/Off mixes things up with a handful of special tiles. There’s the black one that can’t be pushed off the side (normal tiles can slide off the right, say, and reappear on the left), while bigger tiles take up multiple squares. There are also, occasionally, multi-coloured squares to consider.
The first two worlds (40 levels) are free, with additional packs costing 69p. Seriously, when you get to the end of the first 40, you won’t begrudge parting with your pennies.
Worlds 3-5 are Medium and 6-8 are Hard (the latter coming with an appropriate warning), while 9-11 make up the Ultimate Pack. That’s 220 levels available in total, at a cost of just £2.07. Well worth it.
Developer Thomas Castel also makes a few bucks selling packs of keys that let you skip levels. You big cheat.
The only vague negative that comes to mind is the lack of leaderboards. It might’ve been nice to record how many moves it takes you to complete an entire world, for example, and compare against Game Center peers. That'd add an element of replayability, too.
But that’s one minor gripe in an otherwise near-perfect puzzle game. Go play On/Off now.
- The clean, crisp UI
- The special tiles
- 220 levels
- No leaderboards
- The hard levels will make you cry
- Can feel a tad samey after a while
Summary: On/Off is a fantastic sliding puzzle game with a pretty much flawless UI. It’s a freakin’ design clinic, and other developers would do well to check it out.
Developer: Thomas Castel
Price: free @ App Store
Requirements: Compatible with iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPod touch (3rd generation), iPod touch (4th generation), iPod touch (5th generation) and iPad. Requires iOS 5.0 or later. This app is optimized for iPhone 5.