Holiday Kindle Games

The holiday Kindle games are really starting to pour in.  There are about six so far, and as the holidays approach, I’m sure there will be more added to the Kindle game collection.  These games will be great for traveling, and as fun activities for the whole family.

Pixel Perfect Holiday Puzzles is holiday edition of Pixel Perfect Puzzles, a game developed by Amazon that is one of the most popular games in the whole Kindle game collection.  The goal is to create a picture by grouping sets of blocks together on a grid.  Each row and column has a set of numbers that tell you how many blocks to put down.  The trick is to figure out how far to space each set of blocks so that they’ll make a picture.  The holiday edition includes themes such as Winter, Christmas, New Years, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa.  This game is free, so you can’t go wrong, especially with it being top quality.  I like that it includes themes from all of the major holidays of the season.

Picture Cross is the same type of game as Pixel Perfect Puzzles, and it comes in a Christmas edition.  This game has 100 Christmas themed puzzles, and even though it isn’t free, it is still pretty cheap at $.99.  So, if you get done with all of the puzzles in the free game, check out the Picture Cross version.  Picture Cross Christmas Edition is a fun game for all ages.

Word Search is one of my favorite word games.  There are many versions available for the Kindle, and to celebrate the season, you can grab Holiday Word Search for just $.99.  The object of the puzzle is to find the words hidden vertically, horizontally, or diagonally into a grid.  All of the puzzles in Holiday Word Search are part of different categories such as songs and movies, and are related to the season.

Cryptograms are scrambled words or phrases that you have to decode.  To me, they are quite challenging, at least as far as word puzzles go.  Puzzle Baron’s Holiday Cryptograms add a fun twist that includes cryptograms with themes from the season.  I find that it is helpful to pick up context clues from the letters already in the slots.  The categories are Wintertime, Gifts and Giving, Friends and Family, New Years, and Holiday Season.

Futoshiki is one of the top rated Kindle games, so I am excited that there is a holiday version that brings even more great Futoshiki puzzles.  Futoshiki is basically a Sudoku puzzle game, but it includes < and > signs to make things more interesting.  The rules remain the same in Futoshiki Holiday Eidtion, but the board becomes more cheerful with the addition of trees, stockings, and presents.

Blossom is another top rated Kindle game, and has awesome reviews.  A holiday edition of the hit flower irrigation puzzle has been released.  Instead of flowers, your goal is to spread holiday cheer by transforming ugly lumps of coal into beautifully wrapped presents.  The basic concept of the game stays the same.  You connect pipes from a center source to different parts of the board.  Each puzzle is complete when all of the pipes are connected.  It can take a bit of maneuvering, so don’t leave any lumps of coal behind!

All of these games are compatible with the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th generation Kindles.  The only one currently compatible with the Kindle Touch is Word Search, which is unfortunate, but with the user interface now touch screen, it will take some reworking on the developers’ part.  The Kindle Fire has its own separate set of games that can be found in the Amazon Android marketplace.  The prices range from free to $1.99, with most being $.99.  Happy Holidays!

 

Address Book

Address Book is a good little tool for Kindle to store and retrieve the addresses of people you interact with often.

The user interface is quite simple.  Use the Kindle’s 5-way toggle button to select the correct tab: New Contact or Favorites.  In New Contacts you can navigate to the New Contact text input box.  Fields include the standard name, address, email, phone number, etc.

Underneath the New Contacts and Favorites, you’ll also see a search box.  I like that 7 Dragons took the time to include “type here to search” because that simple phrase explains exactly what you need to do.

So, the navigation is mostly done through the 5-way toggle button and the Kindle’s keyboard.  The user interface is simple, clear, and easy to read.  I hope that there will be a Kindle 4 version out soon.

There is another comparable Kindle address book app available that is worth a try.  Contacts is a more elaborate address book, and was developed by A Gamz.  It has great reviews, but is a dollar more than Address Book.  It just depends on how much you want in an address book.

I think one of the biggest advantages to an electronic address book like Address Book is that you don’t have to worry about constantly erasing addresses for people who move all the time.  I have moved about every year the past few years, so it is nice to just reenter my address without wearing down the paper.  A couple of other perks: it gets stored on your Kindle’s account.  So even when you switch Kindle’s you’ll still have the app.  Since it is on your specific account, it has a greater layer of security.  The other is portability.  Paper address books can get clunky.

Ed Pegg

“Use is simple. All major Email services (Yahoo, Hotmail, Gmail) will let you store your contact list (built from emails) in VCF or vCard format. Save that to your computer, then upload to your Kindle. Both programs give detailed instructions.”

DMR48

“This address book is VERY FLEXIBLE in adding information . Just have to play around with it a bit. You can add more than one phone number/ email address for each person. Easy to look up a persons information, by first or last name, friend , family or co-worker. Just what I was looking for. Even can add birthdays ! Great to have when you are away from your home, and you can have someones email addresses, phone numbers and addresses right at your finger tips. (A wish I have had for along time when I am away from my home or out of state)”

Maze A Thon

When I first started playing Maze A Thon I thought, “wow this is easy, and I can knock this out in 30 minutes.”.  Then I got further into the puzzles and boy did the mazes get much harder!

There are three modes: Classic, Wrap Around, and Cubetastic.  Classic is just a basic maze.  Wrap Around allows you to go out of the maze on one side and come back in on the other side.  This is where the mazes get hard, because you’ll find that the the places you want to get to are blocked off.  So you have to use a bit of strategic thinking to figure out the best openings to enter and exit.

Cubetastic is really cool.  It adds a new dimension to the maze.  You are basically walking around a cube to get to the prize.  There are openings that automatically send you to cube’s side that is next to the one you were on.

Your navigation tool is the Kindle’s 5-way toggle button.  Keep an eye out for the hints at the bottom of the page.  They provide helpful navigation hints and keyboard shortcuts.

Maze A Thon’s graphics are great.  The maze just consists of simple lines.  It is pretty easy to tell where you need to get to.  In the Wrap Around and Cubetastic levels, the openings are marked with arrows.  The arrows could be a little darker, but I think they work for the look and feel of the maze.

Maze A thon is a great game for all ages and expert levels.  Beginners can start off easy and work their way up.  Experts can get a challenge on the harder levels.  It is a great time filler, and I found it very addictingsed.

Bruce Horn

“From a software point of view, it is a very clean and well-written game that makes good use of the e-ink display on the Kindle. The text and menus are easy to read and don’t unnecessarily blink the display, which takes some effort to optimize. ”

9

“This game kept my 6-year old entertained on an airplane for well over an hour. That alone makes it well worth the price. She learned it in seconds, and after that, I didn’t have to help her until we got to the cube mazes, and those challenged both of us.

If you have a kid, and don’t mind losing control of your Kindle for a while, don’t hesitate to buy this one.”

 

Kee-Ko’s Quest

Kee-Ko’s Quest is a barrier removal game. There is another game for Kindle called Blocked that is a similar type of game, yet much more basic.

The objective is to remove blocks or objects from Kee-Ko’s path so that he can rescue his trapped friend.

Each level is a room, and the difficulty level increases with each room you successfully exit.  There are 100 rooms, and as you get up into the higher level rooms, you’ll be thinking about some tough strategies.

Kee-Ko’s Quest is really easy to grasp. Each object has a letter on top of it to match up with the letters on the Kindle’s keyboard.  You will still use the toggle button to move the pieces around. You have the freedom to move them back and forth to figure out which combination will provide the best opening for Kee-Ko to exit the room.

I can definitely see how this game can get addictive. I found myself playing it for quite awhile. It is a fun game for all ages.  I also liked it better than Blocked because I was moving actual objects as opposed to just rectangles.

Graphic wise, Kee-Ko’s Quest, was designed well for the purposes of the game. They could be a little clearer, but I was the most impressed with how the game is designed to make it easy to find the pieces you need to move around by the letters on top of each car.

Ed Pegg

“This is very similar to Blocked, which in turn is based on Rush Hour, the ThinkFun puzzle originally developed by Nob Yoshigahara. These are sliding block puzzles on rails. The definitive book on the broader subject (no rails) is Sliding Piece Puzzles. One of the best physical non-rail sliding block puzzles available is Anti-Virus.

It’s odd that Rush Hour is being copied before the the more general sliding block puzzles. Anyways, Kee-ko’s Quest is much more user-friendly than Blocked, by a long shot.

The images all look hand-drawn, but they all mesh together well. The puzzles are well ranked from easy to hard. There are various badges to earn. This is a challenging set of puzzles. ”

Golds on the Road

“I have only gone through the first 15 rooms, but it requires a bit of strategy and thought, but not more than my poor little brain can handle. My frustration level on puzzle games has a low threshhold, and this gamre works for me in that regard. “

Stopwatch and Timer

Stopwatch and Timer as a title says it all.  This is a Kindle version of a stopwatch and timer.  They both are great tools to have.  My thoughts on how this app can be used best is for exercise.  For running laps, it would be cumbersome to carry a Kindle around, but if you’re on a treadmill, elliptical, or a bike, it comes in handy.  The stopwatch counts your time and tracks your speed for you.

The timer can be used the same way, but it can also be used to track cooking time, or even scheduled reading time.  When I get too engrossed in a good book, I let time get away from me.

The graphics are easy to see and navigation is pretty intuitive.  The app is actually almost too sophisticated graphic wise for the purposes it serves.

As for duration, you can customize how long you want the app to track, or you can use the preset 1 minute, 2 minute, 5 minute, etc times that are provided.  Access the presets by pressing the “menu” key.

Be warned though, this app does not alert you via audio.  So, you have to check it often.  However, the good news is, that even if you let your Kindle go to sleep, the stopwatch or timer will still track your time for you.

As with many of the Kindle games and applications, there is a handy guide in case you have trouble accessing any part of Stopwatch and Timer.  This is easily accessible from the app’s main page.

One particularly helpful shortcut that I got from the guide, is to use the space bar to pause the timer.  That way you can avoid overusing the 5-way toggle button.

After looking over the reviews, I definitely agree with all statements that imply that this app needs some kind of beep or audio signal.  The question is, can this be done with the Kindle?  The Kindle does have a text to speech option, so I’m sure it is doable, but the biggest question in my mind is, how doable?  The product description was honest about this issue, so I’m thinking it might be that the Kindle doesn’t really lend itself to audio very well, yet.

Some kind of pop up or notification would definitely be helpful as an alternative to audio.

The following reviewer has a good suggestion for another stopwatch app that might be worth considering if you want to shop around.

Ed Pegg

“Though it’s much the same, Anywhere Stopwatch has better looking graphics, and the number fonts look better and more substantial. Anywhere Stopwatch looks more like a stopwatch than a cartoon with a small text clock. ”

 

Puzzle Baron’s Cryptograms: Volume 1

Puzzle Baron was interesting because I picked up a lot of good philosopher’s quotes while playing. I was a little frustrated with the 5-way toggle button because it was hard to get it to position on the square I wanted.  Aside from that, I really enjoyed the game.  Catch Puzzle Baron while it is on sale for just .99 until September 12!

I solved a lot of the puzzles through context. The hint feature was really helpful in getting me started. I also read the Guide first to make sure I understood the basics of the game.

The guide provides some helpful tricks, like the most used letters in the alphabet, and lets you know that one letter works are either “I” or “A”. Two letter words are usually pretty easy to figure out too because they have common letters and vowels in them.

Your goal is the fill in letters until you complete the quote. When you fill in one letter, the same letter will be distributed across the board where appropriate.  I saw a lot of reviews praising this feature because it saves them a lot of time.

The Kindle’s menu button is your most handy tool. This is where you find the hints. You can also clear the game and start over. I had to do this once, because I got myself tangled up in a mess of letters that didn’t fit.

One part of solving cryptograms is figuring out what letters match to the numbers provided. If you can figure out the pattern, that can also help you solve the words. I mainly relied on the context clues, but kudos to those who can determine the number-letter patterns.

As far as navigation goes, I think the Oak Systems version runs a little smoother. Oak Systems has a specific cryptograms game called CodeWord, as well as Puzzle Pack 1, which includes cryptograms, as well as other fun puzzles.

Puzzle Baron has all 5 star reviews!

[email protected]

“This is a very good cryptograms game. I really appreciate having the letter frequencies displayed. The one small complaint I have is that the cursor is a little slow to respond, but this is not uncommon with a lot of Kindle games (Amazon: beef up your processor!). I was also a little disappointed when I discovered that the quotations disappear after completing them (suggestion to the developer: leave the quotation intact, let us decide to delete the quotation or not).”

Checkers

Checkers is one of my favorite games because it is relatively simple and easy to learn.  So, I was excited to see it available on the Kindle.

The Kindle edition of Checkers has a good set up.  It uses the keyboard’s letters to navigate the board.  The only downside to this, is that the Kindle’s keyboard is really small.  It was a bit awkward at first, but it makes sense, because you can avoid using the 5-way toggle button.  I’ve heard of players who wear out their 5-way toggle from playing games like these.  You can play against the Kindle, or a friend via Pass ‘N Play mode.

There are 10 levels of difficulty.  I started out with the easy mode, obviously, and ended up with a game of cat and mouse with the Kindle opponent.  Either I am really bad at checkers, or this game, even at the easiest levels is a worthy challenge for all ages.  If you get tired of moving back and forth while trapping the opponent, you can go for a draw.  That is an option on the bottom of the screen.

Checkers is such a simple game to learn, and considering this game is only about a dollar, I was surprised to see that there were 10 levels of difficulty.  That seems like a lot!  More for your money I suppose.

The graphics are about as good as they can get for a Kindle.  Maybe future versions can make the pieces 3D.  3D pieces would make the kings easier to see.  White and black pieces are obviously the best choices for colors.

Before you start, check out the Help page to get the gist of how to play the game.  It is really well written.  It tells you exactly how to access options throughout the game, such as hints, draw, etc.

This reviewer makes a good point.  You really do have a lot of customizations that most computer checker games don’t give you.  You can choose whether you want to play more relaxed games, or more competitive “forced jump” ones.  You can choose who plays first, the level of difficulty, type kindle or friend, etc.

will c. settle

“i have played other video checker games and this game is one of the best. alot of video checkers do not allow you to decide who starts first nor do they allow you to pass up on a jump. this one is fully customizable and a winner…”