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On this blog we will track down the latest Amazon Kindle news. We will keep you up to date with whats hot in the bestsellers section, including books, ebooks and blogs... and we will also bring you great Kindle3 tips and tricks along with reviews for the latest KindleDX accessories.

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September 2016
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Big Sale on Kindle Games Going on Now

The Kindle Fire tends to be more well known for its games because it has a lot of the really popular ones.  Angry Birds and Fruit Ninja are the first to come to mind.  But, the e-ink Kindles also have a huge selection of games to choose from.  They may not be as vibrant as the tablet counterparts, but they’re designed to fit into the look and feel of the monochrome display.  Different ones usually go on sale each month.

For March, many of the most popular games are on sale for 50% off or more.  They’re already quite cheap anyway.  Gone are the days of $50 video games.  Now we often complain when a game hits the $5 mark!

I see some of my favorites on the list: Mahjong Solitaire and Jewels.  There are also a couple of newer ones: Lingo and Jungle King.  Aside from those games, there is a game suitable for everyone: cards, puzzles, interactive fiction, and more.

It has been interesting to observe what game developers have come up with for the limited e-ink platform.  I have been surprised at how many different style games have been adapted for the platform.

The Kindle Touch has eliminated the need for the 5-way controller.  Games like Bubble Pop and Gem Falls work much better with the touchscreen user interface than with the toggle and keyboard.  I had a lot of fun playing Bubble Pop on my Kindle Touch.

I’ve noticed more and more interactive fiction available in the Kindle games list.  This is a fun and engaging way to get people more engaged in reading.  You pick your own characters and control the direction of the story.  So, you have to be actively involved with the story as a whole.

So take a look at the games on the sales list.  In addition to the games on this list, there are hundreds of free and very inexpensive apps available for the e-ink Kindle.

Futoshiki

Sudoku lovers and even those who aren’t can have a lot of fun with Futoshiki for Kindle. Braintonik Games has done it again with another cool game for Kindle. The twist that makes this game so much better than Sudoku is that it includes signs in different points on the 5×5 or 7×7 grid. As one who avoids math at all costs, this is a little intimidating for me, but I know there are many who will see it as a rewarding challenge.

The structure of the game is pretty much the same as it is for most Kindle games. There are four levels: easy, medium, hard and expert. All levels have 5×5 grids except for expert, which has a 7×7 grid. You also have hints that can get you out of a tough move.

So the object of the game is to fill the grid with unique numbers, but remember, you must factor in the signs to complete the puzzle.

Navigation seems to be well done, and these grid type games are a good fit for the black and white, linear Kindle platform.

Ratqueen

“I’m not a huge fan of standard Sudoku — I like it, but find it somewhat difficult, repetitive, and kind of boring. Futoshiki is a whole lot better and I absolutely love it. While the signs on the board may appear as additional requirements/restrictions at first, they in fact act as clues and make the game a bit easier (less trials and errors) and more interesting than Sudoku, at least to me. That opens a whole new way of thinking that I find most satisfying. ”

Make good use of the annotations feature, but careful about your input because sometimes you can get offline. Making notations is especially helpful for expert levels.

A. Kaplan

“I find it quite helpful — essential at higher levels — to use the notation option, and love how easy it is to do so. Like a previous reviewer, I do sometimes use the wrong row of keys and make an entry instead of a note. This costs a few points, but so what? The points are pretty meaningless, anyway. ”

The only major complaint about Futoshiki is that there aren’t enough levels. But, I’m sure that issue will be resolved at some point. Great game overall with mostly 5 star reviews, and is only a buck.

Blossom

Blossom is an interesting puzzle game. You connect pipes and rotate tiles so that you can water your flowers. The Kindle platform works well for this kind of puzzle game because it is on a grid. Your goal is to connect all pipes to the watering can so that your garden can be irrigated.

There are 120 puzzles to choose from and you can choose levels of difficulty ranging from easy to expert. Blossom is the classic computer puzzle game. You’ll be navigating through twists and turns all over the “garden.” The flowers bloom when you connect them to the water supply. Watch how they bloom differently depending on what end you connect them to.

Gotta love those addictive games that don’t require too much brain power…

Jody

“Connecting the pipes and flowers to the watering can in Blossom is a nice balance between easy and challenging. It’s involving without requiring too much brain power and it’s possible to spend way too much time playing without realizing it. The five-way button on the Kindle is a satisfactory game control, though it’s easy to hit the wrong button and pause the game. That’s OK. I love this game!

Pluses: The game keeps track of time elapsed. A hopelessly fouled up game can be reset, and once all 120 games are played it’s possible to go back and replay.

Minuses: Color would be nice, but we’ll have to wait for the Color Kindle for that. ”

The following review is a good suggestion for future updates to Blossom.

Anniepoo

“The game only uses the 5 way pad and the space bar to continue after completing a puzzle. I suggest to the developers that the game would be improved by combining the game time screen with the completed puzzle … maybe just add the total time under the flower field … and ask the player to click the 5 way to continue instead of the space bar … it is just soooo much effort to move my thumb ;-)”

So, great game, and quite reasonable at around two bucks. The Kindle game collection has certainly grown over the the last year or so. I love seeing old computer game favorites being added to the Kindle so that they can be enjoyed on the go.

Strimko: A New Game for Kindle

strimkoI am astounded at how quickly the game industry for the Kindle has really taken off over the last few months.  It is fun to see what create ideas different companies come up with. Braintonik, a Canadian casual gaming company recently introduced a new game for the Kindle called Strimko.

Strimko is a Sudoku type game where the player tries to insert numbers in rows and columns without repeating the number. The player also creates “streams” which crisscross across the grid.  So, not only do you have to try to get different numbers on the rows and columns, but you have to make sure they are different diagonally as well.

There are four difficulty levels.  Instead of the same nine by nine grid in Sudoku, you’ll get a larger grid for each level of difficulty in Strimko.  The easy level contains a 4 x 4 grid, while the master level consists of a 7 x 7 grid.  Each level contains 30 puzzles.  This ought to keep you busy for awhile especially considering the game only costs about 3 bucks.

Strimko was just released on March 22, so there aren’t any reviews yet.  I’m eager to see what Kindle 3 users think of this game and the graphics.  I also am curious to know what users think of it compared to Sudoku.

Kindle Games: $0.99 Sale and Thoughts

Today it appears that Amazon has decided that we need even more reasons to waste time in a given way.  I would be upset, but I’ve been too busy playing games to find the time.  Between now and March 27th, there’s a sale going on wherein twelve of the most popular Kindle games to date are available for a mere $0.99.  This is a pretty good list and I’m finding the games quite well thought out and fun to play across the board so far.  Included in this sale are: Scrabble, Solitaire, Mahjong, Chess, Hangman 4 Kids, Triple Town, Texas Hold ‘em Poker, Sudoku Unbound, and four New York Times Crossword Puzzle Packs (2 Challenging, 2 Easy).

For those willing to give it a chance, and you can’t really go wrong at the price, chances are good that you’ll find the implementations far cleaner than anticipated.  Mahjong, Sudoku, and Triple Town in partcular, in my opinion, stand out as making the best possible use of the display and demonstrate a fair awareness of the capabilities of the Kindle.  There’s no denying that this is a simplistic collection of games that, for the most part, everybody will be familiar with, but that’s not a bad thing.  If you’re like me and carry your Kindle around with you almost all the time anyway, it never hurts to have a few more things to pick up when you’ve got nothing better to do but not enough time to really get into a book.  Can’t always get on the internet, right?

Now, Kindle games are obviously a different animal than you expect to find on most other portable devices.  The emphasis is, of necessity, on games that play with word concepts, number puzzles, and other graphically low-impact implementations.  While this is a shortcoming, as obviously this was not a device for which gaming was considered a necessary concern, it has had a couple interesting effects that I think add interesting options.

The obvious benefit for me is the revival of the text-based adventure game.  This is manifested in both a re-emergence of the old Choose Your Own Adventure type of concept and in interactive adventures like the browser based Zork implementation that made a big splash a while back.  Surprisingly, these have been the least common things to find as well implemented offerings in the Kindle store.  There are definitely quite a few of the former posted that, while fun, are a bit short-lived and seem to not quite meet expectations at the price point.  The latter are, as yet, seemingly non-existent unless you want to go to the effort of either compiling your own Interactive Fiction games and inserting them into your Kindle via a jailbreak or run one of the very rare instances available through a browser.

This seems to me like an opportunity to resurrect some old classic game design principles from the days when graphics were rarely able to provide much more than a vague approximation of what they were meant to represent.  Maybe I’m just pointlessly nostalgic, but I hope we see more of that before eInk style screens catch up to modern AV standards.

Jumble – Kindle Edition

Jumble, by Puzux is a cool word scramble game for the Kindle and Kindle DX that includes four scrambled words.  As you unscramble the words, letters that make up a bonus word are revealed.  Start out with the free version of Jumble and learn the gist of the game.  If you like it, you should try the other versions of Jumble that include more games.

The free version includes 3 puzzles.  The reviews say that they’re too easy.  But, this Is a good starting point before moving into the paid games.  After learning the ways of the game and maybe make use of the “hint” feature that is included, move on to the 200 puzzle version of Jumble.

The 200 puzzle version does not have reviews less than 5 stars.  Here are a couple of reasons why:

Master Chief:

“I’m not big into word puzzles but this one is different. I liked the cute cartoons, they make it livelier than other apps, the hints helped me when i got stuck (pretty often actually :)) and the different puzzles are generally interesting. Overall, very engaging. If you have some time to kill and do not want to spend it on useless e-mails and chats – this is a good way to keep sharp and have some fun.”

Anush:

“This is a great way to spend spare time with some fun brain teasing activity. I solve around 10 Jumbles a day, which means I would need another series of these in less than a month… Great graphics and easy to use interface!”

If you want even more Jumbles, you can check out the 20 puzzle version or the 50 puzzle version.  Overall, your best deal pricewise is to get the 200 version.  If will keep you busy awhile and is more challenging than the 3 puzzles that the free version  of Jumble includes.

Nicholas Sabalos Jr on the 50 puzzle version:

“It’s obvious a lot of care went into making this electronic version of Jumble as “user-friendly” as solving the puzzles in a newspaper. The only real difference: instead of a pencil, you’re using your Kindle keyboard to select letters. The programming is smart enough to move/highlight the boxes you want, when you need them. Navigation is quick, clean and easy with the five-way Kindle button.”

Jumble is a great fit for the Kindle because it is literary and easy to learn.  Hopefully Puzux will add more packages for those who love Jumble and play often.

Wordoku Unbound – Kindle Edition

If you like Sudoku and challenging puzzle games, check out Wordoku Unbound for theВ  Kindle.В  This game has the best reviews Iв_Tve seen with nothing but 5 stars.В  Puzzazz has done an excellent job with Wordoku and hopefully will continue to produce great quality games for the Kindle in the future.

Wordoku Unbound uses the same Sudoku grid, but instead of numbers. Each cell must be filled with letters that complete a word or phrase in each 3 by 3 square.В  Wordoku contains 100 different puzzles and you can choose any of them to fit your difficulty comfort level.

As in the Kindle version of Sudoku, there is a notes feature that allows you to write notes in cells before making a final decision.В  Hints are available if you get stuck.

Here is a glimpse of what reviewers think of Wordoku.

S. Kaphan:

в__It’s pleasing to the eye, easy to learn even without reading the instructions, and is also sophisticated enough for advanced users. That’s not easy to achieve. It also makes excellent use of the Kindle’s unique mix of capabilities. I’m looking forward to more kinds of puzzles for the Kindle from Puzzazz.в__

B. Rogers:

в__For starters, the book is dynamic. There are 100 puzzles, but I’m not locked into the “factory setting” difficulty levels. They’re not all easy, medium or hard – nor are they evenly distributed. They’re whatever I want them to be. I kept them on easy at first, until I got the hang of the format, and then ramped them up to medium (which were plenty tough enough for me, so I didn’t try the hard setting).

Solving is smooth. The interface is intuitive, and switching between taking notes and filling in answers is easy enough that I figured out how to do it without referring to the instructions. There is also a robust “undo” function that makes use of the back button – clever.в__

R. Jordan:

в__I’ve been looking for a puzzle book to use with my Kindle for a while now, and what I’ve found are things that seem to be designed for an iPad or PC and moved to the Kindle platform. Most of these were game applications that weren’t terribly easy to use – a Kindle is designed for reading and some basic text input; it’s not a gaming platformв_│

Wordoku is a nice twist on Sudoku – using letters instead of numbers makes a lot of sense with the Kindle keypad. This makes solving the puzzles feel completely natural, just like using a pencil in a game magazine (except you’ll never lose your pencil).в__

So, there you have it, a user friendly puzzle game that is unique to the Kindle platform and has a difficulty level for everyone.В  You canв_Tt beat that.