This review is based on the iPhone version of Square Master.
Developed by Dan Bourque, Square Master is a deceptively simple looking puzzle game that gets fiendishly difficult as you dig deeper. In a nutshell, every level consists of a grid that’s 4 units wide and 5 units high. It’s populated by a 2×2 blue square, along with a series of 1×1, 1×2 and 2×1 blocks that can be shuffled around horizontally or vertically into the 2 empty squares on the grid. The objective is to slide the blue square into the bottom-centre position on the level as quickly and with as few moves as possible. There are no power ups, game modifiers or other novelties; each level even has the same allocation of blocks, so the challenge is always focused on the manipulation of your available assets to nudge your blue square to its destination near your Home button.
There’s a Hint button, but it’s really more of a Solve option; tapping the little light bulb option will immediately unveil the solution move by move for you. It’s too powerful for anyone who wants a challenge (you’re even scolded for “cheating”), but you can use it to blaze past a particularly frustrating puzzle if needed.
The game lets you toggle between classic, paper and glass for the game pieces if you’d like a different visual aesthetic. To stimulate your ears, loading up your own iPod selection of tracks is the way to go; I was rolling along with Hieroglyphics’ “Shift Shape” as I struggled with a couple of baffling levels.
Statistics tracking is very slick, with your performance on every single level recorded for posterity. This is broken down further into the number of moves, time spent and subsequent performance rating for each completed level to fuel your desire for perfection. These are pushed onto global leaderboards, so you can always see where you stack up against the rest of the world (apparently I’m not that bad). Square Master even integrates with the rapidly expanding plus+ network for profile based achievement tracking, which is a huge plus for points obsessed gamers like myself.
For anyone who recently picked this up and experienced frequent crashing, the latest update for this game will resolve those completely for you!
Square Master is one of the fastest block bumping puzzlers around, and anyone who enjoys this type of gameplay should add this to their collection.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars