updated 12:00 am EDT, Thu October 16, 2008
Games have always been part of every computer from the simple Solitaire and Minesweeper program that comes with Windows to the more sophisticated chess program that comes with the Macintosh. Curiously, the iPhone/iPod Touch lacks any such built-in programs so if you want to play games, you'll have to visit the AppStore and download them yourself. While there are plenty of games you can choose, one of the more interesting apps is PuzzleManiak.
Instead of offering a single game, this app is actually a collection of 15 separate games that includes favorites such as Sudoku and Mines (similar to the Windows Minesweeper program) along with more unusual games such as Untangle or Tents.
Each game is a relatively simple 2-D game that doesn't take advantage of any of the motion-sensing abilities of the iPhone/iPod Touch. Instead, this app focuses on offering a variety of different puzzles that challenge your thinking and force you to concentrate as you play against the computer. None of the games are particularly difficult to learn, but they are definitely challenging to win.
While playing each game, you can choose its Undo or Solve feature. The Undo feature lets you take back your last move (unless it caused you to lose the game) while the Solve feature lets you see the solution to the puzzle. Now if you lose, you can see exactly what you did wrong so you can (hopefully) improve and get a better score next time.
One of the more unique features is the ability to post your scores on the game publisher's website. This special Web Challenge feature lets you see how you rank among other players for a particular game.
PuzzleManiak is $4.99 for the entire fifteen game bundle, or you can purchase the individual games for $0.99 each. With the sheer variety of games available, you're sure to find a game that will challenge you and keep you entertained for hours using your iPhone or iPod Touch.