Not to Scale

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Rating: 4.7/5 (362 votes)

joyeNot to ScaleFlash games have come a long way, baby. If the graphics aren't slick, the sounds aren't atmospheric, and the controls aren't top notch, many of us won't even bother. But every so often, you get a little diamond in the rough like this tile swapping puzzler from randomdragoon, Not to Scale. You may be thinking, "A tile swapping puzzle that looks like the final project for someone's Flash Programming 101 course? What could possibly be worth my time here?" And you'd end up missing a really enjoyable experience. By using slots for the tiles of varying sizes, and carefully selected photographs, the game gives you a unique spatial sense twisting challenge.

You click on one tile, and then click on another to swap them. That's it. It's the same controls you've seen on mini-games in escape the room and hidden object games over and over. But that simple twist, of making the tiles stretch and warp in different slots, ends up taking that frankly tired premise and spiking it up. It's one of those things that's difficult to describe... you just suddenly realize that you've been hunched over your monitor for ten minutes trying to tease apart a picture of an elephant. The photographs are well chosen and sliced in such a way as to maximize your confusion as to what goes where. You'll find yourself relying more on meta aspects like pixelation. There are only 12 levels, and the first three are more like tutorials, so this plays more like a proof of concept, yet it's compelling. I would love to see this fleshed out into a longer, and yes, more flashy and artistically presented game. But better a fun idea simply presented than a hyped up game with a boring core.

Play Not to Scale

Walkthrough Guide

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Not to Scale Walkthrough


Pretty cool ... better than I expected :)


I remember there being a similar game in the (now out-of-print) game Pandora's Box (from Microsoft Game Studios). I'm glad to see this type of puzzle again; there's a really clever concept behind the 'primitive' interface.


Great example of how a game doesn't have to be complicated to be well done. The shifting sizes of the tiles manages to add challenge without giving it the answer immediately away: with less attention to photograph selection, you could simply move the tile around until its resolution made it obvious it was in the right place. Harder for things like flowers or tomatoes.

Not that the puzzles were hard (or maybe they get hard, I just finished Cairo). Call the dfficulty just right for a morning coffee game. Good music, too.

Cyberjar88 August 4, 2011 12:41 PM

For those who start playing and think this is easy, wait until you get to the final level.

hothotpot August 4, 2011 1:15 PM

@Cyberjar - I agree! That level was a doozy! But ultimately beatable. Once you get a good strategy, it's just a matter of moving things around until you find their correct placement. Got through it in about 15 minutes, and it was a fun little diversion!

chibidani August 4, 2011 1:16 PM

Like Parse, this immediately reminded me of Pandora's Box.

I love how pictures don't really make sense until you find about 5 pieces that work together, and then its super easy to do after that :)

Skjalldyr August 4, 2011 2:26 PM

Brilliant ... I want more!


Heh. Beat it on Kongregate for the badge!

My brain melted, though.

Czaerana August 4, 2011 5:21 PM

I too had Pandora's Box, so I love these kind of puzzles! I want more!


Great game - normally I get pretty bored after a few levels of these sorts of slider puzzles. The addition of scaled pieces made it challenging but not frustrating.

Wanted more levels. Give me more levels! :)


I'm a fan of Pandora's Box too. Good to play this sort of puzzle again.

I hope this becomes a series, because it was pretty short.


That was a lot more entertaining than I thought it would be, and I was surprised at how changing the box sizes could really ramp up the difficulty. I agree that there needs to be more of this kind of puzzle.

wildflower12 August 4, 2011 11:05 PM

Last level wasn't too hard as long as you know your musicals :)


Great little twist for the game. Nice and player-friendly game: no timing, mutable music, automatic save...

Grat fun.



Absolutely brilliant. Love the odd moment when everything in the pic sounds right but you still have one stray tile. Want more !


Fantastic...especially if they make a sequel with a better UI.

CasualGamer August 6, 2011 11:19 AM

JIG, thanks a bunch for your site. This game was enjoyable.
Suggestion: In the Walkthrough by Joye, it would be nice if the name of the level is mentioned in brackets (eg. "Cairo" etc) as Levels are not numbered in the scenarios.


Enjoyably frustrating. Sad to see there are so many copycat games out there when little gems of ideas like this are available. (Seriously, this could have been programmed in an afternoon.)

Quibble: it was too easy to look at a stretched-out picture and say "that's too pixelated; it's not supposed to be stretched so far". That would go away if the final picture were itself scaled down from something large.


Fun game. Great music, too.


I played through this game when it was under judgement in NG, and it was much better than I expected!


Really enjoyed the game. In the walkthrough, though, levels 10 and 11's pictures were switched. Please fix that.

[Fixed. Thank you for pointing out the error. -Jay]


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