I’m not much of a handheld games person, but I do love having a puzzle game on my phone, one that is simple in concept, but keeps me hooked. Flow Free’s concept is incredibly straight forward: join the dots together, as though laying down piping. You can’t have overlaps and you have to fill every square on the grid. What starts off as so-easy-it’s-insulting, quickly becomes fiendishly difficult, and being confronted by a 14×14 grid of seemingly randomly placed dots becomes daunting.
Easier puzzles tend to be ones in which dots are joined together by laying a pipe around the circumference of the grid, as it meant I could just work my way inward. More difficult ones involve the pipes moving through the middle, which could often take a while to solve. There were many times in which I thought I had cracked it only to realise that there was one box on the grid unfilled, and so what I thought was the solution turned out to be nothing of the sort. That being said, the more difficult the puzzle, the more thrilling it became when I finally saw how everything fitted together.
It wasn’t enough to simply solve the puzzles, I also had to gain a perfect star, which was done by learning how to solve them without making any mistakes. To get a wee star next to a particular pack on the menu screen, I had to get a perfect score in each of the puzzles within that pack, usually a hundred and fifty.
To stop the game from becoming too similar, it also has a hexagon pack which involves laying down the pipes at forty five degree angles instead of the usual ninety degrees. More challenging is Bridges, in which pipes can be overlaid in specific spots. This inability to overlay pipes in the main game was so ingrained into me that when given the chance to do it, it requires relearning the game slightly. Several bridges on the one level created a challenge that often took me quite a while to suss out.
There are currently two thousand, two hundred and twenty individual puzzles in the free version of the game, with the option to pay for more if you so desire. There are also daily puzzles that offer you a new challenge – either lots of easy ones, or a couple of challenging ones – though not too difficult as they clearly want you to keep coming back to the game, long after you’ve finished all of the main packs. I’ve been playing this game for two months now, which is longer than a lot of games I pay actual money for. If you are looking for a simple little puzzle that will keep your mind occupied during those spare few moments here and there, this is a great one to try out.