Cheap Shot: PathPix

No timers. No power-ups. No RPG elements. Remember when puzzle games used to be simple like this? Start a puzzle, solve it, and move on to the next one.

Pathpix, a port of an independent PC game, is the epitome of simplicity. With 144 unique puzzles, though, this $1.99 puzzler will keep you entertained for hours on end.

After starting the game, you’re provided with the choice to either read through some basic instructions or choose a puzzle (none are locked). You have to connect like-colored tiles of the same number to one another, using only a set number of spaces. Each puzzle has a different grid size (they grow massive), and no tile can be left unconnected.

As you draw zigzagging lines across the screen, you’ll eventually reveal a hidden and rather adorable picture. Your only reward for completing a puzzle is to view these pint-size paintings (a castle, squirrel, frog, duck, and ladybug were among some of our pixelated treats) and a witty or historical quote that mentions the content of the image in some way (‘A turkey never voted for an early Christmas.’ -Irish proverb). That’s it. No music, no fanfare, no nothing.

It looks like our math textbook just threw up.

And this is what makes Pathpix so grand. Despite playing this game late at night with heavy eyes, we couldn’t put it down. The just-one-more mentality is pervasive in this game. It’s easy enough that you’ll plow through the first few puzzles but challenging enough to allow you to flex your mental muscles.

For a game so utterly basic, $1.99 might sound like a stretch, but believe us when we say that this is the most seriously addicting puzzler we’ve played in some time. With spot-on touch controls and a gross of puzzles, we guarantee you’ll get your money’s worth.

Editor’s Note: Cheap Shot is a new review feature where we pick a game that costs $.99 or $1.99 and give it the quick review treatment. While you won’t find a 1-4 score or our usual pros and cons, you will get a direct assessment of the game based on a one-hour playthrough. You’ll still find our full-length, regular reviews for other games.

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