The Peablins are back.
Category: iOS Game
Works With: iPhone, iPad
Price: $2.99, $0.99 launch sale
The Peablins, for those not in the know, are the stars of 10tons’ hit iOS game, Joining Hands, a cute little puzzler that challenged players to connect a bunch of cute, gentle creatures across a variety of landscapes and levels.
The sequel takes the warmth and cute-factor of the first game and just knocks it out of the park. It helps that Joining Hands 2 is also a pretty fantastic little puzzle game, too.
Peablins like to hold hands. Some Peablins have one hand, while others have several. There are also elder Grandlins who can’t move their arms and have an extra hand on their beard, Starblins, who like to be surrounded by loving Peablins, and Geoblins, who must be on or near a rock.
It’s the player’s task, then, to make all the Peablins happy on each level by moving them around so all their hands are joined. When this happens, the Peablin faces light up, smiling, and each little cute character makes a happy little noise.
The sound design here is delightful, with a score that evokes the warmth of a Peanuts special with every movement and variation. The various Peablins are all adorable, what with their tiny hands, fat little bodies, and perpetual smiling faces. The level design is simplicity at its best, too, both driving and frustrating potential puzzle solvers at every new area.
The best thing about Joining Hands 2, for me, has got to be the inclusion of a no-fault hint system. Ultimately, I’m terrible at these kinds of games. I typically use up the limited solutions that many puzzle games give players far too fast.
In Joining Hands 2, however, there’s no limit on the number of hints players can receive. Instead, a little timer keeps players from endlessly hitting the hint button and encouraging exploration of various solution sets while it recharges. Need a hint? Just hit the little light bulb icon and the game will show you where to best place one of the characters. Need another one? Simply wait a bit until the indicator shows that it’s available.
It’s this kind of subtle design that raises Joining Hands 2 above other puzzle games in the App Store. There’s a gentle warmth in every moment, in the sweet character and audio design, in the thematic concept of holding hands, and especially in the very forgiving hint system. It’s a bit on the pricey side for an App Store market that tends toward free releases, but I believe it’s worth the investment to play such a well-designed game without having to wade through the typical free-to-play cruft.
Product Name: Joining Hands 2
The Good: This is one adorably good-natured puzzle game with a sweetness and warmth rarely found outside of a TV special.
The Bad: A bit on the expensive side.
The Verdict: Joining Hands 2 is a delight to play, with well-designed puzzles, cute characters, and an amazingly generous hint system for players like me who can’t figure it out on their own.
Buy from: App Store