I don't own many iOS games. Despite being a casual gamer, I am quite picky about the games that I buy. One of the most important criteria that I use to asses an iOS game is their originality; I prefer games that are specially made to fully take advantage of the platform's features, even if it means I won't be able to play that game elsewhere.
Today, I have such a game to show you. Introducing Finger Tied, a multitouch puzzle game created especially for iPad.
Finger twisting fun with Finger Tied
If you have ever played Twister, Finger Tied is actually quite similar in its basic premise. The playing board is a grid, on which lies one or more shapes or paths. The objective of the game is to fill up these shapes by tracing with your fingers from point A to point B as fast as possible. This sounds simple enough, until you actually play.
The first few levels may let you pass easily using only one finger, but soon you are required to have two, three or even four moving all over the screen. As you trace, you are also not allowed to lift your finger(s), move diagonally across the board, backtrace your move or miss any block. If there is more than one starting point in a level, you must tap on all of them at the same time to begin. You may get to each end point at different paces, but you must not lift any finger until you reach them all.
Adding more complexity to the game is the inclusion of special tiles that must be passed from a certain direction. Some points also begin and end at the same tile, so you must keep a finger still on that spot while the others maneuver around it.
If you break any of these rules, the game will end and the app will tell you what you did wrong. I found that Finger Tied has really excellent tracking - I was often sent to my death because my finger(s) accidentally slipped over a neighboring tile or got lifted. However, it's not so sensitive to the point of unforgiving - just precise. Just a tip, you might want to turn off Multitasking gestures on your iPad before you play as it can prevent four-finger puzzles from working correctly. To do this, go to Settings > General.
On the other hand, if you manage to successfully finish a level, the game will show the total time it took for you to do it and how you ranked - Bronze, Silver or Gold. Naturally, the faster you are, the better you rank. Glancing at the bottom left of the screen will tell you the time limit for achieving the next best score, while the box at the right will show you how fast you need to be to get a Gold.
In total, there are 102 levels in Finger Tied, broken down into four categories: Beginner, Easy, Medium and Hard. If you somehow managed to complete all of them and still thirst for more, the game includes an intuitive Level Creator that allows you to make your own levels. Simply choose how many fingers to use and trace the path on the screen. It's wonderfully easy and fair - if the creator can't twist his fingers that way, then how does he expect anyone else to do it? My only wish is that we will one day get to share our creations with other players - as of now, the only way to let other people play your handmade (ha!) puzzles is to lend them your device.
I could go on and on trying to explain how Finger Tied works. I hope that I've described it clearly enough but I figured that everyone could benefit from a gameplay demo. So I recorded this short video of my boyfriend playing the app:
What I like about the game
Okay, I have to tell you straight up: I LOVE this game. I like how it is built from the ground up to embrace iPad's multitouch feature and how it is so intuitive to play. The puzzles, while they may look simple at first, have brain-wrecking qualities to them that I am sure even the hardcore puzzle geeks like Eric would enjoy.
I also adore the subtle visual cues that developer included all over the app. For example, the colorful trail that follows your finger as you trace a path lets you know the position of each finger on the screen. Another example that I like is the tiny illustrations of hands shown at the level selection screen which drop you hints for solving a certain level. The lovely visuals and the fun background music and sound effects also make the app a joy to play.
Also, speaking of fun, I think this app will make a great party game. As it doesn't care whose fingers are on the screen, you can ask a friend (or three) to lend you a hand. On the other hand, if you feel like flying solo, you can always play alone. The app mentions that it is possible to solve all the available puzzles on your own and based on my own experience in playing, you really can.
Okay, so by now you probably already know how I feel about Finger Tied, but I'm going to say it again - I love it. It's one of those rare games that were specifically designed for the iPad, and successfully delivered. With creative puzzles that will twist both your fingers and brain, Finger Tied is a whole pack of fun for everyone. Highly recommended!