Comboling


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CombolingComboling is an original puzzle game that was conceived by Jérôme Lulling in the mid-80's by examining tiles on the bathroom floor. He eventually teamed up with Dmitry Irsheins to help bring his idea to life, and the result of the collaboration is this remarkable Flash game.

The gameplay is quite simple: link each of the marked tiles either vertically, horizontally, or diagonally without reusing a tile or jumping over any other marked tiles.

And while the concept is simple enough to grasp, this Flash implementation of the game is exceptional, thus proving that execution can be as important as the idea itself.

Everything about this game is polished, from the intro to the interfaces—yes, there are two 'skins' of the game available to choose from. There is even a practice mode available to get familiar with the gameplay before getting started. Once you start a game, a timer counts down giving you 25 minutes with which to solve 25 levels. And if you think you are going to memorize the solutions so that you can whiz through it a second time, you have another think coming: All of the levels are dynamically generated, and therefore every game you play will be unique.

I suggest begining with the alternate interface the first time through. The default skin shows no grid and it may be difficult at first to know when tiles are truly diagonal from one another.

What I would change: the New Game button on both interfaces is too close to the play field. I inadvertently restarted a game after having completed several levels. At the very least, a confirmation dialog is necessary to avoid losing a game in progress.

Also, the small squares that are drawn connecting the tiles as you click is a nice effect, but they serve no useful purpose. I would prefer seeing a thin solid line, begining from the tile I start with, and then connecting each tile in succession. That way I could retrace my steps easily when I needed to restart a level.

Yet another simple idea turned into addictive gameplay through its execution and its interface. Comboling is a beautiful game, and yet it is deceptively difficult. Throw in dynamic levels and a time limit to the mix and what you have is a 25 minute challenge that you can return to time and time again. Click.

15 Comments

The game won't load... :( it's stuck at 40%

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Jack - close the window and try it again. I think it was a problem on your end. I just tried the link myself after clearing my cache and the entire game downloaded in less than 1 second.

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Lvl 23 stumped me :P

You cant play the game twice, or youll know the solution. If the levels were different every time, it would be a much longer played game. Otherwise a very original piece!

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Hmm, apparently you didn't read my review of the game. =/

The levels are dynamically generated. Which means that can never know the solutions in advance because the game is different every time you play it.

:sigh:

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Its good and its bad to use computer generated levels. Its good, like you pointed out, because the game is different each time you play. But its very difficult to generate interesting levels with some algorithm, you may get several simple levels in a row. Human can however design levels, that are challenging even with less squares on stage.

Somehow the game reminded me sudoku, where also its not only how many (or less) numbers are given which creates difficulty of solution, but even more how the given numbers are positioned. It might be only me, because I am currently making game inspired from sudoku, that everything reminds it :)

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hey jay, do you know any good multi player games over the net, b/c me and my boyfriends play games together and i've run out of things to play

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Lauren - excellent question. I'm going to address it in an entry of its own, with hopes of starting a discussion of good multiplayer games available. Look for it sometime this weekend.

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Hi Jay,

I always look forward for your website. I like this kind of puzzle game, especially ones that you can redo or "refresh" without penalty. You're right about the connecting tiny squares; a line would be much better. Sometimes I forget where I started or ended.

An additional point is there could be an option for timed and untimed games (not practice sessions). For example, the tournament could be timed but a regular game could be untimed. And the practice or regular game could include all 25 levels, unlike the current 15 levels.

I like the pretty interface. And the fact that the default interface includes no grid make the game more challenging to see whether the two squares are diagnal from each other. At this point, I must admit that I'm still hooked on Planarity, as slow as it gets (and it gets excruciatingly slow).

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2 days... and no new game? Jay must be dead!
Oh, and I beat the game :P

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It seems that the URL is down.

cheers,
cosie

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***N.J. E$HA*** Author Profile Page June 21, 2007 1:24 AM

Do the levels change everytime you start over?

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eyepersonic October 11, 2007 12:34 PM

huau what a lovely game!

so much style in its simplicity vs. dificulty..
this is a puzzle type game i'll come back over and over in the future, as entertaining as solitaire but in a more abstract level.

from the idea to the actual implementation - my respect!
very very good!

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HAPPY! I beat the game!
BTW: does anyone write any comments after the fact? I feel like I've been talking to a brick wall...

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Fun little game! Unfortunately if you don't get one level, it completely restarts your game. :( (Or maybe idk how to go to the next one... ah well.)

Fun all the same. :D

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