Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Tangrams, classic and more

I have fond memories of doing tangrams as a child and LetsTans lets me relive those days in style, as it is a fantastically polished, well-made puzzler. There are 70 different shapes one will make using the 7 tans, in each of 3 different modes, for a total of 210 challenges. And each of the challenges remembers where you left off so you can feel free to jump around without losing your progress.

The modes are as follows: Classic is the activity I remember from my your where you move and rotate the individual tans to recreate the shape given to you. Replica is the mode that has you trying to find a completed shape within a sea of tans that fill the screen. Think of it as Where's Waldo kind of hunt. Arcade sends you on a similar, but more difficult, hunt. In this mode, you are given a shape outline that you must match to the correct part of the background, which may require you to turn the shape using tilt controls.

On the whole, this is an excellent package, but there are a few areas where it could stand some improvement. For example, in Classic, you can only rotate the tans 90 degrees at a time, instead of the 45 degrees that would be more natural. This is somewhat mitigated by the fact that each of the puzzles can be completed with the 90 degree turns, but it is still frustrating to not be able to orient the tans as desired. The developer tells me that they are considering changing this feature in the future, and at that time I would be willing to reconsider this criticism.

Another area for improvement is with the rotating controls for Arcade mode. Personally, I don't like to have to turn my device to solve the puzzles. If one could have the option to just tap the shape to rotate it, that would be ideal. And finally, the package could be improved overall with a simple sandbox mode that let you create your hearts desire and save it with a set of tangrams.

If these complaints and suggestions make you think that I don't really care for LetsTans, you couldn't be more mistaken. This is a wonderful app that I will be returning to time and again.

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