You may remember earlier in the year we took a look at REBUS - Absurd Logic Game, a well-designed and truly unique puzzler that required a great deal of lateral thinking and creativity to progress through. Jutiful, the developers behind the excellent REBUS, are back today with an all-new title for iOS: AZZL.
While the name might not provide as much information as its predecessor, the game retains much of the charm that made REBUS great and remains within the puzzle genre. It’s not a sequel by any means, but feels very much like a Jutiful game from the moment you lay eyes on it and the overall experience is delightful, as I’ve now come to expect from this studio.
I've been testing out AZZL, available for iPhone and iPad, for a few days now ahead of its release. It's described by its creators as an animation puzzle game and it seamlessly blends cartoon graphics and jigsaw-style problem solving. There are 10 worlds to play through, and a secret world beyond that once completed, comprising of over 100 individual puzzles to solve. Each puzzle displays a moving picture made up of tiles that need to be put in their correct places. Some tiles can be moved, some rotated in place, some swiped across, in order to get a complete picture. Your job is to place everything correctly so that animation is complete and, when finished, you’ll be treated to a little cartoon skit that follows on from the image you created.
While jigsaw is perhaps the most tried-and-tested puzzle form, AZZL brings character to the genre in abundance. Not only do the moving cartoons and various ways to move tiles make solving the puzzles challenging, you’ll no doubt become fond of the unique drawing style and the wry smiles and dark humor of the characters in the game. The music and sound effects are just enough too. It’s easy for a game of this nature to come across as too child-like or stray into annoying territory with its soundtrack, but Jutiful has really nailed AZZL’s visual and sonic experience.
AZZL is easy to pick up and play. There’s little in the way of a tutorial but the earlier puzzles are simpler and each time you encounter a new puzzle mechanic (rotating pieces or swipeable objects, for example) there’s a little diagram in the lower right corner showing you how it’s done — pay attention to these as you’ll get little more guidance.
There’s a Kids Mode that can be activated in the settings if your young ones (or you) find the game too difficult. When a piece is correctly placed, it will no longer move meaning that you won’t constantly be rearranging correctly placed tiles. I switched it on briefly and found that it did make the puzzles a lot easier — too easy for me, an adult, but probably just about right for a child.
While REBUS was free with consumable in-app purchases — one of my main issues with that game — AZZL costs $2.99 to download and is absent of IAPs entirely. I much prefer this way of purchasing a game: pay once and play. 100+ levels for less than three bucks seems fair to me.
AZZL, as REBUS before it, is a highly polished product. The app operates smoothly, the interplay of graphics and sounds are spot on, and there’s bags of character. Loading times between levels can be a little long, but that’s a terribly minute qualm of mine. The 100 levels will keep you playing for a good amount of time and puzzles do become increasingly challenging which you need in a game of this kind. Like REBUS, AZZL manages to frustrate, entertain and delight all at the same time. I feel Jutiful has another hit on its hands.