Saturday, August 18, 2007


I'm sure each of us have played some form of puzzle before, be it putting jigsaw pieces together, solving crossword puzzles, finding matching items...the list goes on. Sure from time to time we might have found ourselves at wits' end, hands pulling at the hair on our heads (or what's left of it), but all's quickly forgotten once we manage to find the solutions. Ahh, that feeling of's as though we are the smartest person alive :þ

So here's a chance to relive those moments...

Azada is made up of a collection of puzzles tied together by a story. The story begins with you waking up in a library and finding yourself attempting to release Titus, an old man who'd been trapped in a magical book for God knows how long. In order to do so, you'll have to find the missing pages of the book which can only be replaced by solving a series of brain teasers. There are 10 chapters altogether with ~9 puzzles per chapter. As you complete each chapter, a fragment of a painting is revealed and when the painting is finally whole again, Titus will be freed.

If you do the math, it looks like we have 90 puzzles to solve though in actual, there are only ~20 styles, which means you'll be seeing the same puzzle style every 2-3 chapters. However, Azada tries to make up for it by making some puzzles more difficult when you encounter them again in later chapters. An example is the marble game where you have to jump one marble over another on a board until certain numbers remain (you first have to leave only 4 marbles, then 3, then 2). Another would be the Simon-like color game where you have to memorize longer sequences as the game progresses.

On the other hand, some puzzles are superbly easy and remain so all the way (Perhaps there are just no way of complicating them?) Such puzzles range from basic picture matching (finding the identical butterflies), to memory games (overturn stamps to find matching pairs), to easy maths questions (?-?-?=X). I would call these "in-betweens" as they can be solved in mere seconds (yes, you have a time limit to solve each chapter and when the time runs out, you'll have to start the chapter over again) and I believe are just there to allow your brain to relax for a while before moving on to more challenging puzzles.

Let me give you a peek at what other brain teasers are in store for you:

- Typical point-and-click puzzles where you are given a scene, and you'll have to search for hidden items, combine them with other items or place them at correct locations in order to win. It might sound easy but some scenes can be pretty tricky. Take for example the flooded basement scene. You'll first have to stop the flooding, pump out the water before you can gain access to items needed to develop the winning photograph (which you can only do with the lights off.) If you think there is an easy way out through trial and error by simply dragging items to different locations to see which will fit, think again. Each incorrect item-location and you can see your time limit goes down - FAST!

- Sliding puzzles, jigsaw puzzles, and rotating puzzles where you need to manipulate pieces/items - move or turn in a certain direction - to complete a picture, or complete a line from source to other. An example will be one that involves a bunch of pipe pieces which needs to be rotated to connect the gas tank to the furnace. Any open ends have to be closed off as well;

- Mastermind-like game where you guess the colors and their orders, as well as a sudoku-like game though they are in symbols rather than numbers;

- Last but not least, my personal favourite. Remember the old head-scratching puzzle involving matchsticks whereby you'll need to make X number of a shape from Y number of the shape by only moving N number of matchsticks? Yup, Azada has those too which are simple arrangements but can be difficult to resolve. [HAH..I plan to test those staying over at Peen's place tonight, with actual matchsticks of course, since we have a long night ahead :þ]

As you would know by now, I'm a victim of beautiful graphics and luckily, Azada did not disappoint. Like all casual games, you should be able to complete it in a weekend though if you do not have the luxury, you can always opt to save your progress to continue at some other time. Also, the reward for saving Titus is that you get to re-play all the puzzles whenever you like without having to go through the story-mode again. Better still, some of the puzzle layouts might not have been encountered during the course of the game thus adding to it's replayability. To wrap it up, if you are looking for that feel good puzzle-solving experience, Azada certainly has it all, and it looks like a sequel might be in the making

It's not over until it's over --Yogi Berra

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