Penguin History Mosaics 

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Mixing together columns, rows, tiles and number clues, this next game takes us through Penguin history.

Fantasy Mosaics 15 Ancient Land

Every so often I like to take a break from checking out the numerous Hidden Object Adventure games and those of a similar genre by tackling a title that deals with just puzzles.  Generally my favourite example of this type of game is that of the Griddler or Mosaic genre.  With this form of puzzle game you are presented with a grid of cells and numeric clues as which cells, arranged in columns and rows, will contain the tiles that make up the image which will be revealed superimposed on the grid at the conclusion of the level.

The original versions of this type of game would produce monochrome images.  However more recent such titles of this genre have opted for images featuring four different colours.  In fact the four colours used could change from image to image rather than be the same throughout the game.  One company following this trend is Match Gems with its Fantasy Mosaics 15 offering which is subtitled Ancient Lands.

With this game, profiles can be set up for individual players so that all members of the family can join in the fun.  These profiles can contain the volume levels for sound effects and background music with options to play in full screen mode with a choice of Casual or Advanced game play which really just affects when blank cells are revealed.  The story line, if it can be called that, behind the game relates to the development of Penguin history as a garden scene is populated with various elements that seem to bear no relationship to penguins.

The game’s main interface gives over most of the screen area to the grid onto which the mosaic of tiles will appear.  The arrangement of the individual tiles is revealed by numeric clues running across the top of the grid relating to the columns while similar clues are to be found running down the left side of the grid where they affect the various rows.  These numbers will show how many groups there are in a row or column plus the number of tiles in each group.  For example 6 2 3 informs you that there are three groups in the row or column.  The first group will contain 6 tiles, the second group will have 2 tiles and the third group will be made up of 3 tiles.

Positioned to the right of the grid is a panel showing the four colours being used in the mosaic plus the number of mistakes that can be made during that level before needing to restart it.  Various types of hints can be earned by correctly identifying the correct coloured tiles for the cells.  You can select cells individually with a left mouse click or in a group by dragging over connected cells with the left mouse button depressed.

When all the tiles of a specific colour have been indentified, the software will automatically switch to another colour.  However you can easily switch to another colour whenever you feel like it without incurring a penalty by clicking on the appropriate colour option.  When playing this game I often find the best approach is to use the Sherlock Holmes method of removing possibilities until there is but a single option left.

At the conclusion of each of the 100 levels, you are presented with an award screen showing the number of mistakes, if any, that were made plus the number of hints requested and stars awarded.  You are also show a small picture of the mosaic and its title with an occasional spelling mistake.  It has to be said that there were a number of occasions when I was only able to recognise the image by looking at its title which should give you some idea as to the quality of the images.  Price at $9.99, this game can be downloaded from various gaming sites.  System specifications call for a 1.6GHz processor with 1024MB of RAM and 100MB of hard disk space running Windows 7 and later.

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