JayShotTaro Ito has been a favorite of ours here at JIG for several years, so it is with great fanfare that we welcome new releases from his website.

The latest of his designs is this sliding-block puzzle game called Shot. The objective is to progress as far as you can, through a series of increasingly more difficult levels, by knocking all but one of the balls from the play grid. You do this by sliding one ball into another with a simple click-drag movement with the mouse. It's as simple as that.

Always emphasizing minimalist design over clutter and complexity, Ito-san delivers yet another remarkable and addictive puzzler with randomized levels that increase the game's replay value significantly. The only downside is the inclusion of a clock that counts down limiting the time you have to figure out a solution for each level. This will undoubtedly disappoint those who require a bit more time for puzzles like this (myself included).

Still, it's a simple idea based on a familiar puzzle concept, and yet made entirely his own through presentation and implementation.

Play Shot


This is a great puzzle, well done Ito! The clock is really annoying, though, and a free play mode instead of a timed mode would be really apreciated.

"The only downside is the inclusion of a clock that counts down limiting the time you have to figure out a solution for each level. This will undoubtedly disappoint those who require a bit more time for puzzles like this (myself included)."

This sums up the game nicely.

Oh, and I found a very useful bug: if you drag a ball just as the game over screen appears, the timer stops at zero, yet you can keep playing. However, once you finish the level, it's game over... So this bug shall be called the Training Bug, for those (like me) who want to finish the level even though they know they'll lose as soon as the level ends.

A beautiful idea, so incredibly well implemented - but IMHO totally ruined by that clock. Let's hope the creator releases a version without the clock. John

Unfortunately, I'm actually not terribly interested in most puzzle games with a timed mode, as mentioned above. I did try it... but timing ruins it for me.

The game mechanics, though, I love.

I sadly agree with madwithmuchheart. Timed puzzles just are not fun for me.

I am in "training mode" as donut put it, and even after 5 minutes I cannot find a solution to this puzzle, I think it is impossible :/
for those that are interested: (empty spaces around this)


grrrr, this is impossible, let alone doing it with a time

Lurrrve the concept and the puzzle is great... EXCEPT for that timer.

That said, I could live with the timer if violating it didn't result in the game's end. What I really want when I play a puzzle game is to solve the puzzle, and the game just ending deprives me of the chance and takes all the fun out of puzzling. Penalize me for violating the timer if you must, but let me solve the puzzle.

I tried the game twice, but with no chance to retry those configurations that I couldn't defeat within the timer's span, I won't play it again.

The game is fun but like everyone else says, the timer is driving me bonkers! Sometimes even if I solve a puzzle, time will run out before the last marble falls off the edge and I still get "Game Over"! That's really frustrating.

Yeah, the timer removes 90% of the fun.

Ito fixed the Training Bug... Maybe he's also working on the Free Play mode!

Personally I like the timer. Without it, the game would simply be too easy.

I can't pass the third one! I feel dumb...

Don't feel bad, Bambi. As Haphazard points out above, not all puzzles are solvable. (or is that soluble?) I've only managed to beat level 4 once so far. This game is good enough to have kept me trying for a few minutes already though.
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, i agree that I'd rather the game didn't have a time limit. Alternatively, keeping the time limit but allowing one to restart the game at the current level instead of going back to level 1 would satisfy me. The frustration of replaying levels i feel i have mastered already repeatedly will probably make me lose interest after another half-hour playing it. Perhaps I'll make it to level 6 before then.

Well, after less than 1/2 hour more playtime i did in fact make it to level 7!
However, this is the starting configuration i got:


I think it might be un-solvable. It's way past my bedtime, however, so i might just be being dense. I don't see any way to set up the ball over on the right so that it lines up with any other ball.

Incredibly I just made level 10! it went back to three balls on level 6 almost as if it reset to level 1, 10 was a stinker though.

not that it matters anymore

Whoops, I just noticed I had typed my puzzle slightly wrong
here it actually is:


Ah, nice to see that i was wrong about that puzzle, Jay. That'll teach me to try solving puzzle games at 1:30 am!

Crank is right, the difficulty resets every 5th level, so after level 5 and 10 with 7 balls, levels 6 and 11 have 3 balls. It's a small reward for beating a hard level, the time limit increases linearly but I think it should be exponential as is the difficulty. Made it to level 14.

I like the concept, but do not like the timer and having to restart from the beginning. Arrrrrg!

I liked the timing it added some interest, if it saved the games you failed on and let you retry that configuration with unlimited time, it would be awesome

This is a really interesting game. I can fairly regularly get into the 30+ levels, with my maximum at level 55. The game starts out with level 1 being easy, progressively getting harder until level 6, when it becomes easy again. With each "cycle" from easy to hard, the number of screens to go through increases by 1. So, first easy screen is 1, then the next is 6, then 12, 19, 27, 36, 46, 57, 69...

I find that after playing it for a while, the visual processing of the brain manages to work out the simpler answers without much thinking at all (a kind of "auto pilot"). But when getting to screens that are more difficult, it's harder to do it. Sometimes I'm stuck on a screen and I think I'm going to run out of time, then suddenly I see a possible move and I'm able to find a way to complete the screen. Eventually, you just run out of luck if the randomizer gives you a really difficult screen.

I really wish this game had a training mode... I'm bummed that Ito-san fixed that bug which would let you keep trying on the last screen after your time ran out, even though you wouldn't be able to continue. It helps hone your ability to solve the more difficult screens. What I try to do is take a screen capture and save it to examine afterward, but it's rather limiting. I guess the ideal would be to have a set of Chinese Checkers or Othello, whereby you could mimic the setup and then test it out.

Ito-san hasn't touched this game since 2008.02.22. I really wish he'd enhance it!

i think i have found another "unsolvable" puzzle.. im on lvl 17 and the balls are as so...


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