PN Review: Tangram Attack
Tangram Attack puts a twist on the venerable shape puzzle formula. You’re no longer putting pieces in place; they’re already positioned. Instead you’re slicing them apart one by one! It’s an interesting idea, and enjoyable at first. Over time though it does grow repetitive, and some issues become manifest. Are there enough positive qualities to make this a game worth your time?
Multiple modes are available in Tangram Attack, but Academy mode is the main part of the game. Here you advance by earning belts martial arts style, all the way up to black belt if you’re good enough. Progress also gradually unlocks three additional modes. Minor variants aside however, these modes all feel very similar and aren’t as compelling as the Academy mode is. I’m fairly indifferent towards them, but they offer replay value for those able to get into them more than I.
The graphics are okay here. Lack of variety and no 3D whatsoever do hold them back, but for a puzzle game they’re more than sufficient. The thematic tunes that accompany the visuals are unobtrusive, but not especially memorable. The sound effects make more of an impact, with satisfying noises as shapes are sliced away.
Control is responsive more often than not. For a game that demands precision though, this isn’t enough. If the instances where the game misreads a slice come during a lengthy multiplier, failure is all but guaranteed. Even menu control has issues. For instance, scrolling to replay levels was a chore. The arrows are for show only, and dragging the stylus meant I was just as likely to replay a level I didn’t choose instead of moving the menu along!
One other concern I have is that the success of certain slices boils down to simple chance. I’ll explain. You can only slice pieces connected to just one other only. So the game already has pre-cut lines that you just can’t see. The problem rears its head during the times when you have more than one valid move. It’s a shot in the dark whether you pick the right one. There are times throughout the game where you need very high multipliers (a couple dozen moves without a miss!) to reach the target score. Imagine the frustration of failing through sheer chance and no fault of your own. Adding insult to injury are the often strict time limits, which also make the hint system arguably worthless. I can appreciate the challenge here, but the difficulty isn’t always balanced.
Tangram Attack offers some short-term fun at a wallet friendly price. It’s repetitive however, with some control issues, and design that relies too much on chance over actual skill. I’d rather play a real Tangram game myself, but those looking for something different could certainly do worse than Tangram Attack. If the arcade meets puzzle gameplay sounds appealing to you, give it a download. The $2.99 price is reasonable for what’s offered here, issues and all.