Storm City Entertainment has brought the beloved puzzle, Tangrams, to the electronic format in Hands On! Tangrams for NDS. What are Tangrams, you ask? Tangrams are Chinese puzzles consisting of 7 geometric pieces that are believed to be hundreds of years old, although the earliest records of these puzzles are from the 19th century. I remember my high school Geometry teacher introduced my class to this “Chinese Moving Puzzle,” and I have loved it since.
Hands On! Tangrams is the very definition of a good casual game. Pretty much anyone can play. The controls were simple to learn and the game itself was difficult to master. Hands On! Tangrams has 2 modes of play: a regular play mode, and a free play mode. In order to unlock more free play puzzles, you must unlock each level in the regular play mode first.
There are more than 100 puzzles, grouped into 10 different themes, which come to life once solved. The controls are very straightforward. To move pieces, you simply drag them with your stylus. To rotate, you press the L or R trigger. To flip the pieces, you press Up on the d-pad. There is a timer on each puzzle, and solving within a certain time frame earns you different colored stars. These stars came easily at first, but once I progressed through more levels, they became much harder to earn.
The graphics were what you would expect from a puzzle game. The images were colorful and actually made the puzzle-solving more enjoyable. Many puzzle games go with drab colors that put you to sleep. The colorful display kept me focused, and the animations were a nice reward for finishing each puzzle. The audio was in line with the graphics.
I am always looking for a great puzzle game to pass the time, and Hands On! Tangrams passed the test. From the simplistic gameplay and challenging puzzles, to the vibrant graphics, I thoroughly enjoyed this game. I also improved my perception skills, logical thinking and hand-eye coordination in the process. My recommendation? Get your hands on Hands On! Tangrams!