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15 Puzzle (Xbox 360) artwork

15 Puzzle (Xbox 360) review

"Snowcap Games' 15 Puzzle is exactly what it claims to be: an electronic version of the classic sliding tiles game. Even if you didn't know what it was called, you probably know the one: it's a flat four-by-four grid, containing fifteen tiles and one empty slot. The goal is to slide tiles around until they're in the correct order."

This is an Xbox Live Indie Games release. When playing indie games, I'm not looking for the production and sheen of a commercial release (although more power to anyone who pulls that off). I'm looking for ingenuity and talent. A game that showcases one, the other, or both is likely to receive a recommendation.

Snowcap Games' 15 Puzzle is exactly what it claims to be: an electronic version of the classic sliding tiles game. Even if you didn't know what it was called, you probably know the one: it's a flat four-by-four grid, containing fifteen tiles and one empty slot. The goal is to slide tiles around until they're in the correct order. Perhaps the tiles form a picture when properly assembled; perhaps they simply display a sequence from 1 to 15. 15 Puzzle competently translates this game to the HDTV screen with some pretty tropical pictures and different difficulty levels. But, competent as it is, this isn't why you bought your Xbox 360.

Nonetheless, some of you will be tempted to purchase 15 Puzzle anyway. After all, it's a casual puzzle game with scenic photographs. Your girlfriend is sure to love it.

You'll forgive the sexist remark because you know it's true. This game is meant to be purchased by insecure guys to appeal to girls who don't play games. In our warped minds, 15 Puzzle would appear to be the key to our fantasies. After a romantic night of Xbox 360, basking in the warm glow of the 40-inch Sony Bravia, the smitten girl would declare, "The Xbox 360 has truly brought us closer together. I'm sorry about mocking your all-night Halo sessions." The gamer-guy, his insecurities washed away like tears in rain, would then turn to his lady and say: "Let's make sweet love."

Of course, that's not how events would actually go down. At best, the aspiring stud would end up sitting on the couch -- bored -- while his girlfriend hogs the Xbox to slide tiles around for an hour or two. And if the bored lad dares attempt conversation, she'll get pissed. Regardless of how often guys are distracted during a Modern Warfare deathmatch, it's unforgivable to interrupt a girl's gaming session. That's why, if you're considering such a devious plan of attack, you should instead download one of the free Windows versions of 15 Puzzle. Some of those even let players create their own puzzles, based around photographs stored on the hard drive! There are a couple nice things about that approach:

ONE: If the girl enjoys the game, you can still play Gears of War or Trigger Heart Exelica while she's busy being boring.

TWO: You can earn bonus points by complimenting your girlfriend's ingenuity after she creates a puzzle based on her new puppy's photo. For even more points, suggest that she make a puzzle based around a photo of the two of you together. Then play Ikaruga while she's busy.

Of course, an insightful and considerate man won't try to "convert" his girlfriend in the first place. He would instead appreciate the diverse perspectives that she introduces to his life. If the relationship is meant to last, she'll support his hobbies in her own way soon enough.


This game cost 80 points at the time of review.


zigfried's avatar
Staff review by Zigfried (December 13, 2009)

Zigfried likes writing about whales and angry seamen, and often does so at the local pub.

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zippdementia posted December 13, 2009:

This game gets two thumbs up for complete and total honesty. Though, if I had bought this game for my girlfriend, she would've tied me up and whipped me. Of course, she would do that anyway. Being a dominatrix, she had a limited number of responses to situations.
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honestgamer posted December 13, 2009:

So... what you're saying is that you definitely would've bought this game?
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sashanan posted December 14, 2009:

Oh, this puzzle is the bane of my existence. Merely including it as a non-optional puzzle along the way in an adventure game or RPG (yes, the latter has been done, Beyond the Beyond for instance) is enough to make me give THAT game a 2 on general principle. Probably whip my girlfriend too if I had one, and she was into that and everything.
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aschultz posted December 14, 2009:

What I'm wondering is, does it ever give you impossible puzzles where you just need to flip two tiles to win?

Here is a proof that there ARE unsolvable puzzles. I've seen a few NES mini games like this (Blodia Land comes to mind--it's actually much better than Blodia) that messed it up. I think that now they can probably just give 1000 random moves, or they can even calculate if the puzzle is solvable, but back then just -having- the mini game was interesting.
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zigfried posted December 14, 2009:

Sam Loyd wasn't actually the inventor.


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