App Reviewed on: iPhone 3GS
Graphics / Sound Rating:
User Interface Rating:
Re-use / Replay Value Rating:
There's something about jigsaw puzzles that speaks to a very broad audience. Pretty much everyone has a fuzzy memory or two associated with the... well I guess calling it a pastime wouldn't be much of a stretch. For me it's a three-way-tie between quietly helping my grandmother put one together, finally finishing that stupid 3D Millennium Falcon (all the pieces were gray!) and that episode of Salute Your Shorts when Budnick finally opens up to someone. Anyway, Jigsaw Mansion 2 does a good job of recreating the simultaneously calming and frustrating effect of putting such a puzzle together with one drawback: it's a little too user-friendly.
The formless and nameless stand-in character used to represent the player has just inherited a mansion. A mansion filled with, surprise surprise, lots and lots of jigsaw puzzles. There are a number of galleries, each with their own collection of puzzles to frame, and more can be unlocked by spending coins earned through doing the obvious (i.e. completing puzzles). The faster a puzzle gets finished the more coins it yields. Anywhere from one to three, with a time limit that depends largely on a given puzzle's complexity.
I'm not too crazy about some of the subject matter (a little too sappy for my taste) but I have to admit the artwork is great. Some very talented illustrators put a lot of work into these images and it shows. The coin-based progression system is also a nice touch because it encourages and rewards repeated attempts at besting a previous time. It's also possible to create custom puzzles using personal photos, which can then be shared with friends. Pretty neat.
The thing about Jigsaw Mansion 2 that keeps bugging me is that it's almost impossible to do badly. Pieces can be rotated and will auto-lock into place when lined up relatively accurately, as with many a puzzle game of this nature. Problem is, the pieces are all pretty much oriented correctly right out of the tray, so there's no need to rotate them. Even without the special mat that makes these puzzles practically finish themselves (seriously, the mat makes things waaaaay too easy) I found myself zoning out after finishing a few. There's just not much of a challenge to it. At all.
As long as no one expects something that will put their skills to the test, Jigsaw Mansion 2 won't disappoint. It's got plenty of oddly-shaped pieces to line up with other oddly-shaped pieces to make lots of pretty pictures. And once all the pictures are finished it's still possible to create some custom challenges. It's certainly not a bad game, it's just that it's not a particularly difficult one.