Last October, I reviewed Finger Tied, a multitouch puzzle that tests one’s dexterity and wits through its clever puzzle designs. The game was so good, it was picked by Apple as one of their “Best of the App Store” for the “New Ways to Play” category.
Following the popularity of the iPad version of the game, a lot of players requested for a version for iPhone and iPod touch. If you are one of these people, you can rejoice because today, Finger Tied Jr. is finally released.
Twists and Turns
If you haven’t played Finger Tied yet, let me give you a quick rundown. Basically, what you try to do in each Finger Tied puzzle is to fill in a shape on the grid by moving up to four fingers around the screen at the same time. As you trace, you are not allowed to lift a finger or go out of bounds, otherwise it’s game over.
Finger Tied Jr. features the same finger-twisting gameplay, but the game has been redesigned for the smaller screen of the iPhone and iPod touch. When I say redesign, I don’t mean simply sizing down the existing puzzles — I mean creating more than 85 new puzzles specifically designed with these devices in mind.
This means that the Jr. version has fewer puzzles which require more than two fingers, but by no means the game is any less challenging. To make up for the compromise, the puzzles have trickier paths and shapes to figure out.
Other than new puzzles, everything else about the game remains pretty the same. The app still rewards medals based on how fast you can solve each puzzle, and there are four difficulty levels: Beginner, Easy, Medium, and Hard. Finger Tied Jr. also includes a Level Creator, plus the ability to share your creations and to download levels made by other players.
In my original Finger Tied review, I mentioned that it is a great game that you can play alone or with your friends. The Junior version shares this characteristic too.
While the app listing guarantees that all the puzzles can be solved on your own, some of the harder puzzles are easier to solve when you have an extra hand to help. So if you are stuck, don’t be shy to get a friend to lend a finger or two.
Another tip that I would like to share is to make sure that you turn off the triple-tap to zoom option! Otherwise, it will interfere with the game. To do this, go to Settings > General > Accessibility > Zoom and turn it off.
Things I Like
I am a fan of the original Finger Tied. It is a great game, and it seems so natural to play the game on the iPad. I mean, with all those finger twisting and maneuvering, you kind of need the iPad’s large screen estate. Which is why I never expected an iPhone version of the game, and to be honest I was kind of skeptical that it would work.
But Finger Tied Jr. proved me wrong. I actually thought that it was enjoyable. I really appreciate that the creator, Owen Goss, decided to make a new batch of puzzles instead of simply resizing the existing ones. Because, while Finger Tied and Finger Tied Jr. are essentially the same game, they live on two different devices which we handle differently.
I think one of the biggest challenges in Finger Tied Jr. is that there is limited screen estate to allow the players to move their fingers freely. So the game solves this by keeping the three/four-finger puzzles to a minimum and by increasing the difficulty level of the one/two-finger puzzles by introducing trickier paths.
For example, I often ran into puzzles that not only pushed me to turn my fingers, but my iPhone as well. Another pattern that I observed is the increasing number of puzzles that put directional squares into the equation. This gives the app a more “puzzle-like” quality to it, and just goes to show how much attention Owen poured into the design of the app. (Note: if you are interested to learn more about the design process of the app, here’s a link to an article that Owen wrote himself over at Gamezebo. It is a really insightful piece.)
The only issue I had with Finger Tied Jr. is that a few times while playing, I couldn’t get the app to register my touches properly. I spoke to Owen about this, and it turns out that there is a technical limitation on devices older than iPhone 5 and the newest iPod touch that prevents them from sensing multiple touches properly.
This issue occurs most often when the device is not plugged in AND placed directly on a wooden or a plastic surface, i.e., your hands are not holding the device. It is a very rare case, but on the off chance it happens to you, my suggestion is to move the device away from wooden/plastic surfaces.
Finger Tied is an excellent game, and now with Finger Tied Jr. non-iPad owners can join in the fun, too. What I like best is that Finger Tied Jr. is not simply a port of the iPad version, but it has been redesigned to provide a great gaming experience on the iPhone and iPod touch. The new puzzles are great for smaller screens, yet they provide the same, if not more, level of challenge. Overall, this is a great release, and I would recommend getting the game.
Get Finger Tied Jr. on the App Store.
Big thanks to Owen Goss for providing us with the app. I enjoyed the Finger Tied Jr. as much as I did the iPad version.