More movement-until-blocked puzzles

IMG_0002In an earlier post I introduced movement-until-blocked puzzles. The idea of such puzzles is that there are various objects to be moved towards a goal. Each object can be moved separately, and in any direction possible. However, the catch is that the movement will continue until it is blocked by a wall or another moveable object. In that earlier post and the follow-up I presented six different iPhone puzzles that used this principle. In the meantime two more have become available: Atomix and D-Star. Both are remakes of earlier games known under the same names.

atomix.jpgAtomix (iTunes link, screenshot shown to the right) is a remake of a game by Günter Krämer & Rolf Steffens originally released in 1990 for the Atari and Commodore (the original is shown here to the left). The objects are atoms that have to be assembled to form molecules. It’s a fun way to learn a bit about chemical formulas, but it is also a great puzzle. As with all movement-until-blocked puzzles, the problem is to find the right order in which to move the objects, often using one object to block another. One extra challenge of Atomix is that you first have to figure out where to place the molecule! In most levels there is only one possible position. It would be even better if somebody would figure out levels in which the molecule could be placed into different places, but there is only one position which is actually solvable. As far as I can see, such levels with even more puzzling-depth are not available. Still a great game though.

dstar.jpgD-Star (iTunes link, screenshot shown below) was originally made as “DStar” by Joe Wingbermuehle in x86 assembly language for the TI 83 in 1998 (a screenshot of a DOS version is shown here to the right). There are two moveable objects in this game, and the goal is to collect all stars by moving over them. The slight complication is that only one of the two objects will collect the stars. However, you can change freely which of the two moving objects is the ‘collector’, so this complication is actually rather fake. The puzzle are fun, though not terribly difficult.


Unfortunately, both implementation do not have free level choice (but the levels are not that difficult that you will get stuck, fortunately). Likewise unfortunately, both games need artificial methods to increase the difficulty. Atomix has a time constraint, although you only have to restart the current level if you run out of time. D-Star has a number of moves constraint: you will have to start over completely if you cannot run out of moves.

Instead of such artificial rules to make the puzzles more interesting, I would rather see some more ingenuity in the level-design!

IMG_0002[Update 28 March 2009] I have had some more time to play Atomix. The puzzles are not very difficult, but a great time waster. I found at least one level in which there are multiple locations where the molecules could be placed, but not all locations seem to be constructible. Unfortunately, this level (shown here to the right) seems to be unique among the Atomix levels. Or did I miss something interesting?

[Update 28 April 2009] Another clone of Atomix became available today: Atomicity.

[Update 19 May 2009] Yet another Atomix clone: XAtomic, XAtomic Lite, and XAtomic Ultimate.

[Update 23 June 2009] Suddenly it is starting to become a craze: The next Atomix clone arrived today: Atomicity and AtomicityLite.


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