Jigsaw puzzles have been a staple of web-based Flash games for many years. The combination of hi-res images and and the mouse/web interface made a nice platform for easy to play and easy to digest small jigsaw based games. The iPhone touch interface takes this to a slightly higher level, as it adds a tactile element to building puzzles that is missing from the web based games.
99 Games has recently released two collections of Jigsaw puzzles that build on this tactile element of the iPhone interface.
Both Aqua Jigsaw and Jigsaw Wild include 24 images (sea life and wild animals respectively) that can be turned into 4-24 piece jigsaw puzzles. You have the option to of irregular pieces (jigsaw-like) and regular (rectangle), as well as the option to load your own images from your iPhone photo library.
When the game starts, you get to see the image before it is cut into pieces that are scattered over the iPhone screen. You then move the pieces around with your finger. When two pieces touch that connect, they join together and become one piece that you can move around. In-turn, those larger pieces can be moved around and connected. As a basic Jigsaw app, this all works fine. You can save your progress, which is nice feature since the bigger puzzles can take some serious time to complete.
As a basic Jigsaw standpoint, the game works well. Moving the pieces with your finger is a nice change from games that require a mouse interface. However, there is one thing that an iPhone jigsaw game could include that would raise it even further above it’s “point and click” counter-parts: rotation. No pieces are ever “rotated” in place in either Aqua Jigsaw or Jigsaw Wild. It would have been nice to have a “hard” difficulty option that rotated the pieces and then utilized a multi-touch interface with a finger twisting motion to rotate the pieces as well as the simple movement interface.
Having said that, the options that are included are fairly robust, especially the ability to use your own images and to save your game in-progress. While the included images are very nice, this opens-up the apps for unlimited playability, which is bargain for the price of $1.99.