Know How to extend Rush Hour

knowhow.pngThings move fast in the app store. I just wrote this summary on Rush Hour puzzles, and then today a new variation becomes available: Know How [iTunes Link]. I have not bought the game (at 3€ I find it too expensive to try it out; hopefully a lite version will become available soon). However, from the description and the other information on the web it is clearly a Rush Hour variant. The block can only slide in the direction of the elongation, and the treasure box has to be moved out to a destination outside the playing field (at the bottom in the screen shot to the right).

knowhowbridge.pngHowever, things seem to become more complex later on. There are various playful blocks that appear in higher levels, like two blocks connected by a spring that push other blocks (probably alleviating the restricted movement possibilities), magnets that drag other blocks along, bridges that allow block to pass ‘through’ other blocks, and multiple treasures to be moved out of the playing field. All this sounds particularly interesting, though I am afraid that more options do not necessarily make a better puzzle. It is often the case that more possibilities ruin the balance of a puzzle. In this case, I hope all levels still have unique solutions, and all available blocks are necessary. Unfortunately, this does not seem to be the case. Just looking at the puzzle in the screen shot at the right here, this puzzle seems to have a 9 move solution, with no trickery necessary.

If anybody has more information on the actual gameplay, please let me know, and I’ll update this post.

knowhowsprings.PNG[Update] The free version just came available, with seven levels to test out the game. And I’ll have to revise my fears: Know How really seems to be a nice extension of Rush Hour. The various additions make interesting new puzzles. For example, the puzzle in the upper right screenshot has four blocks (with the violet marking on them) that always move together as one piece. That makes things much more interesting (though still not really difficult). The blocks connected by springs (see screenshot to the lower right) also have some interesting consequences. They push any block that can be moved (in the regular direction). So for example, the 2×1 block on the lower row can be moved to the right, pressing the spring together. However, when you release the 2×1 block, the spring expands again, and the 2×1 block is pushed back to its original position. The puzzle shown to the left actually takes 10 moves, and took me some time to figure out.

Know How is nicely made, though the blocks are sometimes a bit tedious to move. Things are more directed towards good looks, as towards easy puzzling. However, this shouldn’t hold you back trying out this interesting Rush Hour extension!

[Update 11 december 2008] An updated free version just became available with more levels to try out. The basic rush hour levels are really very simplistic. The only really interesting aspect are the bridges and the springs. The levels are zoomable and turnable in 3D, but this really is only a nuisance, and doesn’t add anything to the puzzling fun.

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