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NOBuzzle Tree


(9 votes) *Average rating will show after 20 votes
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Nobuzzle TreeJohnBNOBuzzle Tree, an entry from NOBstudio in our second Flash game design competition, is a smooth logic puzzle game with a strong hint of Eyezmaze's Grow series. A row of icons sit beneath a bare tree. Clicking one causes some limbs above to grow and branch out, sprouting miniature fruit in the process. The goal is to experiment and find the correct order of activating the icons to make the tree grow to fill the screen.

All it takes to learn how to play this game is a little bit of attention. The instructions feel a bit cryptic, but the idea is simple. Let's say you have three icons: a heart, a leaf, and a circle. Assume the solution to the puzzle is to click in that order. Click the heart and that branch grows. Next, click the leaf and both the leaf branch and the heart branch will expand. Finally, activate the circle to complete the puzzle. If you try clicking an icon out of order (the circle after the heart, for example), only that icon's fruit will grow, giving you an obvious clue that you've made an error. With a little trial-and-error and a sharp eye, you can solve most of the game's puzzles in just a few attempts.

Analysis: Apart from making you want to say "NOBuzzle? YESBuzzle!" over and over again, this game has a way of getting under your skin. In a good way. The gloriously simple interface is attractive and well-designed. Everything has an off-kilter look that makes the environment feel dynamic and artistic. The ambient noises are also a nice touch.

NOBuzzle's down side is that it will either be frustrating or too easy for most players. If you get the hang of the game's mechanics early on, don't expect much of a challenge. If you don't, however, this may be one of the most maddening games you've ever played. If the emphasis were on forming a strategy (as opposed to guessing or learning a formula), these two extremes could be balanced out.

My favorite feature in NOBuzzle Tree is when you complete a puzzle and the tree suddenly blossoms to fill the screen. For some reason, it's one of the most rewarding moments I've experienced in casual gaming and a testament to the beautiful design direction taken by NOBstudio.

A simple game with a beautiful presentation.

Play NOBuzzle Tree

zxoHats off to the designer for this interface—from the art to the ambient noises, to the Grow theme, there's not a thing I would change—well, maybe the instructions page. However, the gameplay falls far short of where it should be. Each puzzle is solvable after one test run, even the later levels where fruits don't trigger all other fruits before them. If anything, those levels are easier, because you can switch the order of fruits that are at the same growth phase.

As I mentioned in the comments for NOBuzzle Tree, there's one very simple change that I feel would add a lot more challenge to the game. Like the first few levels, each fruit would trigger every fruit before it. However, the number of fruits to pass the level would be set below the maximum number attainable—as in the later levels. Thus if you caused either too few or too many fruits to grow, you could not pass the level. In fact, this is originally how I thought that the game worked, and I spent a good 20 minutes working out a strategy that could be used to solve any puzzle like this. If you're careful, you'll still only need one test run to solve it, but it takes much more thought and analysis to figure out a solution.

33 Comments

Pretty enough game, though you can always get it on your second try (work it out yourselves!)

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oh, all the entries have been great so far :)

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Hyperkinetic February 26, 2007 5:30 PM

Delightful game! It could have used some background music though, it gets kind of static.

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Great looks, and great idea, but the game is really easy... like the first post says, you always get it on your second try, no matter what.

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I don't really see how anyone can say that it's easy or that you can always solve the puzzle on your second try. Have you even played beyond the first level?

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Eytan Zweig Author Profile Page February 26, 2007 5:46 PM

Jay - you're right, in later levels it is impossible to solve it in 2 tries.

In fact, most levels require 3 tries.

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Eytan Zweig Author Profile Page February 26, 2007 5:56 PM

By the way, I only partially meant to be snide in the above comment. 2 tries are always sufficient to get all the information you need, and the third try allows you to implement that information. *How* to do so can be tricky, especially in the later levels.

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Very enjoyable, although I think it's a little buggy? I couldn't reset the third puzzle, but the "reset" button kept flashing at me again and again. Also, hint doesn't seem to work -- I just get a series of x-ed out boxes I couldn't click on, but maybe I just missed something.

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Hmmm, I played through all 10 stages and then one random one and was able to always complete each level on the second try.

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A straightforward strategy:

Remember those logic puzzles you used to do in grade school? This game is essentially a prettier version of one of those. Just make a lattice grid and match each object with a place in the order. For example, if you've already clicked blue and yellow, click red next. If red triggers blue but not yellow, you know red can't be in the last position or the first position, and that blue can't go last and yellow can't go first. Keep working like this, and in one try you can find the order to get the most amount of fruit on the tree.
To get the target number, say, for example, you have five objects, and they go in this order:
1. blue
2. yellow
3. red
4. green
5. white
In other words, yellow triggers blue, white triggers all of them, etc. Then each object can produce a number of fruit equal to their position in that list or the order you click it, whichever is lower. For example, suppose your target number is 11. Then find five consecutive numbers that add up to 11. For example: 1 + 2 + 2 + 3 + 3 = 11.
Then the solution to the puzzle is
1. blue (grows 1 fruit)
2. green (grows smaller of 2 or 4 = 2 fruit)
3. white (grows smaller of 3 or 5 = 3 fruit)
4. yellow (grows smaller of 4 or 2 = 2 fruit)
5. red (grows smaller of 5 or 3 = 3 fruit)
For a total of 11.
Any questions? I'm sorry if this is confusing, and I'd be happy to clarify.

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Very elegant, but I think it needs something more. Each puzzle can be solved in two tries, if you know what you're doing.

The beauty of the original grow games was that you spent half of you time trying to figure out what you were trying to build towards. In this one, you just have to see what order the pieces fall into.

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I see now the game isn't as difficult as I had initially thought. I was under the impression (and I don't know where I got the idea from) that unless a branch had already blossomed, a fruit that would otherwise affect that branch would have no effect on it. Perhaps I was expecting this sort of relationship due to how the items in the Grow games level-up.

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@ Jay:

I have, in fact, played past the first level. After completing the set of 10 levels, I went into Standard Puzzle and solved several puzzles, using only 2 tries each. It got boring after a while, because it IS rather easy.

My Method:

Open notepad (paper+pencil would work too)
Begin clicking each shape in order, left to right.
Record the name of the first button to begin your list (I use the first letter of the color, putting a "d" for dark or "l" for light with the red, green, and blue ones). After the first shape, run through the following:
1. Click shape, watching all branches that have shapes already
2. In your list, write the name of the button you pressed on the RIGHT side of every shape that was increased, and on the LEFT of ever shape that was unchanged.
After you have every shape, hit reset and input your list, and you have the solution.

Hope that clears things up for everyone.

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I remain confused by this puzzle... it seems rather random and arbitrary on the whole... And when we have another tree game that's so much better it seems a bit dull by comparrison

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Eytan Zweig Author Profile Page February 26, 2007 8:29 PM

Jay -

You are correct in your impression. However, this doesn't make the game substantially harder, because:

Unlike eyemaze's Grow games, the relations here are always context-free and consistent. There are no complex interactions. In other words, the rules are all "fruit 1 will grow fruit 2", and never "fruit 1 will grow fruit 2 if fruit 3 is already grown", or "fruit 1 will grow fruit 2 if there are already more than 3 fruit 2s". That means that for any fruit pair, you just need to determine whether fruit 1 has to be grown before fruit 2; if the answer is yes, you know the ordering. If the answer is no, you are always safe if you grow fruit 2 before fruit 1. As Sam pointed out (and despite my earlier impression), it is possible to get all the necessary information to solve any puzzle in one pass.

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A pretty game, but I didn't like it as much as I should have. I thought the rules were a bit complicated to go through and even with the tutorial I didn't quite "get" it. Maybe I'm just having a brain spasm today! :)

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The game is definitely simpler than the instructions would lead you to believe.

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laptopdude Author Profile Page February 26, 2007 9:06 PM

i cant get past the loading screen =(

it gets stuck at

LOADING
10kb of 100kb

are there just too many people accessing the server?

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Same here at stopping at the loading screen, after a few tries it got as far as the main menu. I keep clicking, but nothing happening.

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Try it again, Laptopdude. You must have been on mirror4. The file was missing. :x

That is a potential problem when running so many mirrors, the possibility for a file turning up missing or incomplete due to an interrupted file transfer is much greater. My apologies.

Amanda - try emptying your cache and reload.

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thanks, jay =)

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candycanenosebleed February 26, 2007 10:47 PM

I have no clue how to solve this, besides random guessing.

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This game could be a lot better with one very simple change: have the fruits all in one order (like the first 4 puzzles were), but randomize the number of fruits required for the goal. You have to hit the goal exactly: ending with either more or fewer fruits is a loss.

It's still possible to figure out with only one pass through, but it requires a lot more thinking and planning. For a while I thought that this was how it was set up, and I spent the bus ride home thinking up a strategy to solve them in this way. Then, I spent another 15 minutes or so trying to figure out why my strategy didn't work!

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Beautiful game, though I agree the instructions are rather inscrutable.

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the_dude15 February 27, 2007 7:14 AM

star shape is last

thats all i got so far

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so what's wrong with a game a person can actually solve without help? I love it!! It was really beautiful and lots of fun. Though it did take me more than two tries past level 3.

hit reset each time you pick a leaf out of sequence (ie, if it doesn't make all the previous branches grow bigger), remember which ones it did grow, and put it in the right place on your next try

fun little game, so much better than certain other mindless time-wasters that are oh so popular with the masses...

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I'm with Stacy on this one. Fun little game, requires thought - and actually can be solved without spending a week doing it.

Perfect example of a casual game.

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Woo Whoo! Another excellent game. However, a bit easy to figure out, even for me (Surely not). Incorporates grow element nicely, and pretty picture. Could be more challenging. (Gateway II still has my vote, followed by planned)

And Jay, Digging games is useful and all that stuff, but you should give us a specific game to digg, so that it rises and people come and play all the games. As it is, out of lets say 100 diggers, 21 digg planned, 30 digg gateway II, 11 digg this, etc. If you gave us one game to digg, it would be more effective.

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A bit disappointing, because

as mentioned before, all of the puzzles can be solved in two tries if you take notes (or have a much better memory than me).

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Cassandra Author Profile Page May 9, 2007 9:33 PM

Maybe I'm just out of it, but I've been struggling with this game for the last hour, and I can't seem to get it!

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Cassandra - there is a sequence with which you need to click on the fruit in order to make the tree bloom in full. Some fruit depend on other fruit to make them grow, so those need to come first.

For example, let's say you click on the banana, and then you click on the orange. When clicking on the orange, if the banana also grows, then you know the banana has to come before the orange. The trick is finding out which fruits must come first. They will be the ones that are affected by the greatest number of fruit.

I hope that helps.

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Anonymous June 17, 2007 1:04 PM

The people who said they can't get past 10kb have better chance then me mine stays on a blank white screen

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crazypuzzler811 Author Profile Page October 19, 2008 8:34 AM

How do you solve it in 2 tries? None of the explanations makes sense!

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