Ingenious may be the perfect name for this puzzle game from developer United Soft Media Verlag, because you pretty much have to be a genius to master it.
This surprisingly addictive and challenging puzzle games is difficult to master but easy to enjoy. While the tiles-based gameplay may remind players of Dominoes, the focus on color matching indicates this is definitely a puzzle game.
Based on earlier iterations of Ingenious as a board and then computer game, you play on a hexagonal game board, which you fill up with tiles made up of two small hexagons with colorful shapes on them.
The game starts with a single tile in each corner of the board, and it’s your job to use one of your six tiles to make the longest chain of a single color possible. The point system isn’t completely intuitive, but the tutorial is very helpful, and it makes more sense the more you play.
You want to keep your color ratio up, meaning that while you’re trying to make a long blue chain, you can’t neglect the rest of the colors, because that will drag your points down. After each turn the game replenishes your tiles and if you’re out of tiles in your lowest color, it will offer to deal you a whole new set of tiles.
Beyond these basic rules, Ingenious has near-endless gameplay combinations. There are three basic modes of play: single game, tournament, and solitaire.
Single game allows you to choose your difficulty and set a timer. You can also decide whether you want to play against the computer or a friend next to you, by passing the phone back and forth.
Tournament is the most versatile, with plenty of unlockable content: start at Beginner and work up to Genius. Within each difficulty, there are four levels, also unlockable. Even the first round is tough—but not so tough that I didn’t want to keep going back until I beat it.
Solitaire is the simplest mode, letting you practice your skills with no opponent, just in pursuit of a high score.
Basically, there are hours of playability in this game thanks to all of the mode, difficulty, stage, and time limit combinations, as well as the time you spend mastering the unique format. If you’re into puzzle games and brainteasers, this is the game for you.
[Meghann Myers is an editorial intern for Macworld.]