Overall Score 90%
Jig Jag! Gold
Here is a simple idea done with class. Jig Jag! Gold (yes, that exclamation mark IS in the middle of the title) is a game with elements of both strategy and... jigsaw puzzles...?
The concept behind JJG is simple. You have a grid, upon which numerous blocks are placed. Each block shows part of a picture. Using the mouse you drag the blocks into position so they join up and form complete pictures, whereupon they depart from the board.
JJG is fairly varied. There are three game modes you can play, being Strategy (where a new block is added to the board every three moves), Arcade (where a block is added every few seconds, so speed is of the essence) and Puzzle (where you have to make up all the pictures within X moves).
The graphics are particularly good. Everything moves in this game. Even the buttons jump up and down when you move the mouse cursor over them! Everything is clear and all the pictures are taken from scanned photographs. You should be able to make out what each block is part of with little difficulty. You can play full-screen or in a window.
As for sound - I've never known a more audial game. Whooshes and whizzes sound when you pass over those jumping buttons. Music plays constantly in the background - lively and cheerful when playing the main games or navigating the menus, subdued and mysterious when attempting the puzzles. Sound effects exist for all the pictures - complete the animal ones, for instance, and they growl, bark, chirp or whatever as they depart the screen! And all sound can be adjusted or deactivated, of course.
To play this game requires but a mouse. Jig Jag involves dragging blocks by holding down the left mouse button and moving them wherever you wish them to go. You can push other blocks at the same time, which is great for reducing the number of moves. Big blocks mean no fiddly movements, so even if your mouse skills aren't too hot you should have little difficulty.
The number of puzzles is astonishing. Even if you play just those you'll be going for a long time. One nice feature is that you can solve them in any number of moves - but you want to get gold or silver to put your name against them. There are many sets to play and they each contain a lot of puzzles. Meanwhile the main games provide variation in the form of lots of different block sets, ranging from animals to astronomy.
This is one of the most well-crafted puzzle games I've seen. Every detail has been considered to make it as friendly and playable as possible, and that is something every developer should be doing.
Keywords: jig jag! gold review, jigjag.com reviews, jigjag.com games, jig jag! gold scores, pc game reviews, indie game reviews, independent gaming.