It's hard to believe it's nearly Christmas again. I've had my kindle for almost a year, loaded it with gazillions of books, read and reviewed tons of stories on it, and even solved some puzzles... Yes, I love my kindle. It's easy to read when the light gets low and these eyes begin feeling their age (just increase the font size). It’s easy to mark without feeling like I’m despoiling the printed page. It’s easy to put down and never lose my place... And I don't have to write the wrong answers in puzzle books.
I’ve just finished playing with my sixth Grabarchuk Puzzle book, so here are my reviews of the latest three—a fine collection of different activities for the kindling puzzlerin your life as Christmas approaches.
First, of course, is 12 Christmas Puzzle Quizzes. Shorter and cheaper than the other puzzle books, it features twelve full-color Christmas themed puzzles that play well on the kindle but look even better in full color on the computer. I can imagine gathering the family round the screen after Christmas dinner. So, how many toys can you fit into the box? And which star is different? The solutions are easy to find. Navigation is fairly intuitive, though it’s a pain when you click instead of pushing that five-way button—just be patient and logical (as any good puzzle-solver should be). In emergency, just click “menu.” The solutions aren’t as clearly explained as in Grabarchuk’s other books, but this is, after all, a quick set of Christmas games, and sometimes it’s more fun to have the family argue over the answer than define how it was done.
Next is 102 Puzzle Quizzes, a collection of, yes, 102 puzzles, again in full color (though I just played with this one in black and white). Black and white and shades of gray work fine. The buttons are good. Increasing the font size means you have to remember to use next and previous pages, but that’s no problem. And the five-way controller soon becomes your button of choice. Answers are nicely explained. Great graphics. Nicely classified puzzles from easy to hard. And a really nice selection to twist your brain in many different directions.
Finally there’s the delightfully named Lets Tans (A Tangram Puzzle for Kindle). I love tangrams and I was certainly curious how they’d feel done by computer. I guess I miss the tactile feedback—there’s just something about holding those tangram shapes, hovering you hand over the ones you’ve already placed, visualizing possibilities. That said, the book is still great fun, just different. And it’s quickly addictive. The shapes to fill in are nicely chosen. Rotate and flip controls are well explained and easy to use. You can’t rotate through “wrong” angles, so there’s no temptation to fit corners that can’t be fitted (why do I miss that so much?), and “Help” has occasional glitches (telling you to replace one piece with an identical one) but the book plays beautifully, the hints are great, and the fingers soon replace tactile shapes with well-remembered keys. Repeated “helps” show where different pieces go, and readers with good memory can challenge themselves to remember what they were shown if they want more than just solving the tangram itself. So there's more than one way to play, even before you try the two non-classic versions given in the contents. Did you know there were non-classic tangrams? I didn't. But they're fun.
Now to get that Christmas dinner cooked and the presents wrapped. We'll play the puzzles afterwards.
Disclosure: I received these ebooks free from the author in exchange for an honest review.