Ununicum

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4.8/5 (78 votes)

Welcome to Tonypa's school of game design. Start with a very simple gameplay idea; it doesn't have to be original, but the idea has to be simple enough for anyone to understand immediately. Include a few attractive graphics in a minimalist style of your own design. Add a pleasing and relaxing soundtrack. Toss everything in a box and flip it upside down. Voilà. Brand new game all your own.

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60 Comments

Excellent! I love Tony's work.

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Your best game yet imo, tony. love it.

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Wow, that's addictive. I love it.

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Hehe, wonderful idea.

I find the beginning of the game the hardest tho'. =o

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YAY!

I've NEVER hit the scoreboard on one of tony's games, but I got 5th place my second try! I'm SO proud of myself, lol.

GREAT game Tony, especially love the music. If only the loop were a little longer..

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I guess I just don't get it...I barely hit 500 before losing.

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Josh - I didn't fare well on my first attempt either. It took a game to get a feel for what was required and to recognize strategies. In my second attempt I looked for ways to group like symbols together, even in pairs, thereby setting up future matches.

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Thank you for nice comments everyone and for lovely review Jay :)

I am sure you are right about it being too small. I actually started with much larger board, but in the process of testing it got smaller to keep the game interesting. As many times before, some little changes, like the number of different symbols, rows and columns did make huge difference between playing it for 5 seconds and playing it for quite a long time. So, the smallish size is not intended, it just happened and I am sorry if it prevents someone enjoying the game.

The game has total 6 different symbols and it uses 4 of those each time. I am hoping this way it stays interesting for longer.

It is also a game that does not end very quickly even if you play absolutely randomly. It is possible to keep going for some time without even looking at the board, but I still think you get better score by looking there. And that it is more interesting to look at it while playing. And not watch TV. Or read a book.

The score for each move is made up from 3 components: how many symbols you remove, how many of them are different (I mean not same kind), and bonus for removing symbols at each move. You could achieve 500 points with single move...

The game music is made up from 7 different loops. All being parts of the song called "Big Mojo" by Kevin MacLeod. The music is still taking up most of the filesize, without any sounds the whole game would be about 10-15kB.

I understand the game currently has some bug when restarting. Hope I get it figured out soon.

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When the music is on, the 'X' for restarting will not appear. If it is off it does appear.

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At least some of the links to the game aren't working right in Firefox, FYI... not that I don't have Tonypa's games bookmarked. :P

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Thanks, MadWithMuchHeart! Fixed. Oops. :x

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Made it into the top 10!

20921 ..

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this is great .. speaking of tonypa's school of game design, can we expect any more flash tutorials in the future, tonypa?

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Tonypa, this ranks as one of your best games imo. My first go was weak, but second time round it clicked and I started getting more confident. Suddenly, I realised 10 minutes had flown by.

These little puzzle games are some of my favourite online games because you get what you put into it.

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Great game. Scored 10000 and had the pleasure of being #1 - for an hour or so. :-)

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This game is fantastically addictive, though I still can't break too far past 3,000 T_T (how embarassing).

Hmmm...try saying Unununicum 5 times fast.

Dugg it!

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Yay, I made it to 4th place!

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wooty, new tonypa game! aside from the usual simplistic and addictive, this game really forces you (er, me) to concentrate.... so many times, i've blown a game by thinking one thing would slide into another... without realizing the target would slide too! brilliant game sir... another tonypa-quality game worth recommending!

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Wow!! Great game! Simple, addictive and amazingly capable of surging your competitive nature without the frustration factor that usually tags along with games like this. One of the best on the site!

J

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Wow, this game is pretty unique!!

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as usual, the use of music is great!!!

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Deceptively subtle... it sucks you right in before you know it. I didn't think I was going to like it, and after getting 75 on my first try I was flummoxed. I did significantly better on the second try, though. Once you get the hang of it (which, judging by the comments, takes about two games), it is very addictive.

Tonypa: one comment about the size--I think what Jay meant about it being too small was a comment on the scale of the board, not necessarily the number of columns and rows. You could keep the same number of rows and columns and just blow the game up, so to speak, so that each square is, say, twice the size it is now.

But don't worry, the size in no way prevented me from enjoying the game. :)

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Thanks, Suho1004, that's exactly what I meant. =)

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Karin M Designs Author Profile Page April 25, 2007 3:46 AM

Woah - awesome game - sucked me right in and just as I was on a roll, my 6 year old wanted a word - sigh.

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Truesilver April 25, 2007 3:55 AM

I must be the worst gamer ever, because I suck at this game.

I managed to play three consecutive games with a total score of zero. My best is ~900, and that was just hitting the arrow keys in order of up-right-down-left over and over.

And, no, I'm not stupid, I get how you make the blocks disappear, I just don't seem to be able to grasp which rows are going to move during any given keypress.

Oh well, back to Bloons. :)

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This is the best in-game music I've heard in a long time. Great game, too.

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What strategies are there apart from Jay's "pair up symbols"?

I think I found one just now

You can minimise the amount of new blocks appearing by looking at the size of the "hole" left on the board and moving left/right if the hole is narrow vertically, or down/up if the hole is narrow horizontally. Helps keep the board clear :D - tripled my score when I used it

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Annoyingly addictive - Great stuff!

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Starscream Author Profile Page April 25, 2007 10:39 AM

Perhaps the game should end automatically once you've filled up the screen? I see no reason to force the player to click the "on" button, then the "x", to get to the high-scores and then get the option to try again.

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Starscream Author Profile Page April 25, 2007 10:41 AM

Nevermind my last post, I see what happened.

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um, the ON button is to turn ON/OFF sounds. Since the game will play ending loop once board is filled, but shows game end button at once if sound is turned off, you can use the ON/OFF button to get game ending button visible faster. Not that I recommend this :)

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Woo 5018! I feel accomplished!
It's funny, there's a point where my mind really understands how the blocks move, but then I still make random silly mistakes.

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Sweet. I like this game.
First try of the evening was a long'un (actually took a break in the middle for dinner), made 5th on the board with 26828 points. ^_^
Only mild criticism: the little bit of music at the end (when you lose) could be shortened juuuuust a little. It got me a bit edgy last night with a few of the shorter runs (It's good the first coupla times, then it just drags a bit).

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11 199

I love the way the game encourages a different form of thinking to most games of this type. Awesome twist!

On my first few goes, I only made a few connections, but something drew me back. After that, I managed to wrap my head around the idea and got 5,7,3 then 11 thousand.

I think it gets a lot easier once much of the board is covered and a few more rows or columns are 'locked'.

I think I'd maybe prefer it with more rows/columns and a greater number of shapes as we progress. Great as is though.

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Ok now I'm addicted to this game XD

Very nice, I loved it, just can't stop playing it =)

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great game, but ugh, please put in a reset button!

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First time I played this game, I didn't look at any directions, I figured I'd pick them up as usual, by playing. My game lasted 10 seconds, and I had no idea what happened, and I thought the game was really pretty lame.
Then I played again, spent half an hour on it... and really, it's pretty excellent.
The gameplay is nice; it's simple and clean.
The graphic design. Wow. It's not flashy, but it's beautiful. Hard to put my finger on. Looks a bit like some traditional quilted designs from India, or maybe the middle east. Simple but elegant. I know I sound ridiculously effusive, but the more I play the more impressed I am with the look of it. And it's a distinctive look. Nice job.
I love the music, too. Again, nice job. It sounds a lot like Bangara to me. People who enjoy the music might look into that. I'm thinking of more traditional bangara, rather than the fusion-electronic-dance stuff.

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Made some little changes based on comments.
1. Tried to fix reset bug (if it happens again please let me know).
2. The game end button now appears sooner.
3. You can use keyboard on the buttons (after game is clicked once to gain focus), up key on game-end button, left key for restart button, right key on start button. If you make into highscores, you must still click the submit button with mouse.

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Yay! 11720! That's my highest so far! Love this game! ^_^
I noticed that the site says Ununicum though the game says it's called Unununicum. Is that a typo?

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I dig the changes, especially the ability to use the keys at the end of a game.

I would probably be nice to see (hear) a little more variety in the music, but I understand your reluctance to add weight to the file.

In other news, I just achieved a personal high score (and a palindrome!): 16061. Still ten grand off the high score list (at the moment), but I'm pretty happy about it, considering my previous high score was somewhere around 5 or 6k.

Unununicum has now earned a coveted spot on my favorites sidebar. :)

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Sera - you are so correct(!) :x

And I can't believe I did that. I guess with as busy as I have been lately I just wasn't being very mindful. With apologies to Tonypa, it's fixed now.

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Dear Tonypa,

please explain how to pronounce this game's name.

It is currently the source of some puzzlement to me.

Yours Sincerely,
- Bez

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Ooooh I (still) really like this game.
It would be neat to see a mode where you could try to get as many points as possible in, say, 15 moves.

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I'm so proud of myself. 61959, first place.

I've NEVER placed so highly on one of Tony's games. Yaaaay!

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Patri Friedman April 27, 2007 2:06 AM

Strategy tips anyone? I suck at this game! 7K best score so far. I fear my wife will soon get a higher score if I don't get some pointers.

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Patri,
I think that once you get to where you can get 7k or more, the main strategy to getting a higher score is staying focused along with a smidge of luck ;).

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Very elegant little game. Tonypa is back in the groove!

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Yay, #1 !

Oh, I see it's a nice day outside. Maybe I should go enjoy it.

Wonderful elegant game. This would be an EXCELLENT cell phone game.

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And I was thinking that the three "un"s looked odd...

As for strategy, I have to agree with Harukio. Once you get a basic, workable strategy down (and if you've reached 7k, I would say that basic strategy probably isn't an issue), the key is to stay focused. If I let my attention slip for just a moment, that's usually enough for me to make a dumb move and shoot myself in the foot.

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Yay! My best so far was 13k =)

Now my eyes hurt XD

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OK, here's my attempt at a strategy hint or two (yes, I am still playing this game). Most of this is common sense, but I'll use the spoiler tag just in case...

My big strategy "hint" is this: don't think only about what you can see, but what you can't see as well. Since there are only four symbols in play in any given game, the chances of a given symbol turning up on the margins (i.e., the edge of the board) is pretty good: 1 in 4. You can use this to your advantage in a number of ways.
For one, it is good to keep in mind when trying to keep streaks (consecutive matches) going. Sooner or later you're going to run out of visible matches, and one thing to consider at that point is where you are most likely to come up with a match from off-board. For example, if you have two identical symbols next to each other on a margin, then you have almost a 50% chance (7/16, because getting two symbols still only counts as one match) of getting a matching symbol(s) from off-board.
The same goes for when you've lost your concentration and backed yourself into a corner. You've only got a few moves left and no visible matches. Try to move the squares that give you the best chance for a match. Even if you've got two diagonal matching squares, you still have a 25% chance of a match, which isn't that bad.
Yes, there is a good deal of luck involved, but playing the odds to your advantage should lead to better scores (and longer games) in the long run.

It's not much, but there you have it. :)

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Woo! Got a score of 11951, personal best :)
I seem to do a bit better when I take my time and don't do it all at once. Do a few minutes, work on something else, pop back to the game.

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New high score for me: 44159. Still not quite good enough for the high score list, but closer than last time (and nearly 30k higher than my last high score).

As usual, my downfall came with a brain fart. I had thought I could make a match, but when I moved I saw that I couldn't, and I was left with only one square open. I didn't get lucky, and that was that.

At this point it seems to be entirely a matter of concentration for me. I have no doubt I could have kept the game going if I hadn't had that one brain fart, but after playing for so long I suppose a mental slip was only a matter of time. Maybe I'll take Harukio's advice and take a break every 10k.

Uh, or maybe I'll just go write that paper I'm supposed to be writing. This game is just too addictive.

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Patri Friedman May 7, 2007 1:03 AM

thanks for the hint suho.

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I think there's still a large element of luck but I can't be sure. I know that with some concentration you can see if there's any match that can be made on the current layout and maybe with enough forethought you can find only matches that will allow other matches, but I often found myself going through a chain of match, match, match and having to 'get lucky' with a move or be left with an increasingly small area. Usually it wasn't a single square or single move but two or three before I'd be impacted, but still a high score required five or six of these 'lucky' moves that set up another chain that allowed me to clear 20% of the board or so.

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John: I have no doubt that there is an element of luck. Like you said, the part that luck plays can be reduced by careful planning, but through the course of a high-scoring game a player is going to invariably need to have a few lucky moves fall his or her way.

With the situation you describe, I find that most of the time when I have ony a few moves left but no visible matches I can play the odds in my favor and generally get a match. Sometimes, of course, it doesn't work and the game is over.

For me, that's part of the fun of the game. It's kind of like staying in a pot in poker that you have no right to be in and then sucking out in the end--there's that irrational rush you get from events beyond your control going your way. While I do enjoy pure strategy games (like chess), I also enjoy games with a small element of luck.

Maybe that's why Ununicum is in my favorites bar and is my "go to" game when I need a break.

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Love this game! Tonypa is a genius when it comes to presenting games that appear simple at first glance but escalate into complex strategy, and suck you in once you get involved.

5 Stars for Ununicum!

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I think I've found out how to score...

(Amount of blocks + amount of different symbols + consecutive chain) * amount of blocks

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I rewrote the game and many of the features mentioned in this review are now changed. The board is larger, score system is simpler and all available pieces move until whole board is filled.

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Hi Tonypa,

I went back to play the game to find it changed! Maybe it's just me prejudice, but I think I liked the original better. With the new version, I feel like all I'm doing is finding one match to move on, whereas with the original version, I had some leeway to shift the board around strategically.

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