# Scakler

• Currently 3.6/5
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Remember that TV show, Lost? Yeah, remember when that used to be popular? Well what if, in the first few series when that mysterious black-cloud monster was around, any time it showed up, it started spouting off numbers to its victims? I know what you're thinking, 4, 8, 15, 16, 23, and 42, but let's also assume the black cloud doesn't know numbers higher than 20.

Mysterious time-traveling plotlines aside, this could be the basis for Atomic Cicada's new number puzzler, Scakler. Each level is made up of a black "cloud" of numbers. Your goal is to make all of the numbers the same, but in a Rubik's Cube-ish fashion. If there are two adjacent numbers that are equal, you can mouse over them to make some red arrows appear. Click and drag (up/down or left/right) one of these numbers to increase or decrease its value. However, doing so also adjusts the numbers on either side of the one you've selected, even if it wasn't an equal value to begin with. (If a number has both a horizontal pair and a vertical pair, two pairs of arrows will pop up, but you can only alter one direction at a time.)

To make it trickier, you're limited to dragging numbers out to positive or negative 20, meaning you've got to keep things neatly in order. Also, you have a limited number of moves to solve each level. You get unlimited "undo" and "restart" powers, but that may not help you much here. As a last word of advice, keep in mind that while zero is a very simple target number, it might not be the best to aim for on every level.

Analysis: Fear not, math-haters. The good news is that even though you're dealing with numbers, you don't need to perform any complex mathematical equations to play. Each step leads to another, so think logically, and plan your moves ahead of time. Also, fear not, math-lovers, the good news is that if you can actually pre-calculate a method for solving any given puzzle, I will personally quintuple your score for being awesome.

One strong irritation about this game is how you're limited to a certain number of moves to complete the levels. In a game where it takes a bit of experimentation to get the hang of some more complex strategies, one really shouldn't be punished for going off the beaten path. Perhaps if there were a "par" number of moves, and your bonus points were given in proportion to that, then things might feel a little more fair. But this game wants to stress planning ahead rather than trial-and-error, so be prepared for a little frustration in that sense.

If you're looking to file this game's presentation style under a particular motif, you'll likely settle on "horror film waiting to happen" or "excessively subdued and calming". The background music is low and etherial, but you may wonder why some disembodied voice is whispering every menu command back to you. Whether the game is trying to imply an ominous black cloud puzzle OF DOOM! or just a strange twisting of "relax" spelled backwards (well... "relkacs" is kinda close to "relacks") is completely up to you. I recommend giving in, and letting the black cloud whisk you away...

Play Scakler

If anyone can give a little hint on 35, it would be most appreciated. Have spent a good bit of time on it for my walkthrough, and have gotten quite close numerous times... but it's the only level I haven't solved yet.

-Tass

Can we start calling "number puzzlers", "nuzzlers" please? :)

-Joe

good call Joefish

meanwhile......level 5

have i not got the grasp of this game
properly ...I cant seem to solve it at all

anyone point this old duffer in the right direction.

...Im going to put a brew on

Vienna:

Move the center 9 down to 0, either horizontally or vertically. Doesn't matter which. Now you have a row of 0s in 1 direction. Move either the 2nd or 4th position 0 back to 9. Should be obvious from there. :)

-Tass

This is a really cool concept for a game!

Atomic Cicada, if you're reading this: the "Undo" feature seems to be messed up. Sometimes, I get my move back in the "move count" total but the numbers don't revert; other times, it seems that the numbers revert unevenly or incorrectly.

I'm not very far in--level 10--but so far, I'm not overly stressed by the limited number of moves. It's keeping me from getting a puzzle hopelessly mixed-up and then doggedly trying to fix it; running out of moves says, "You're overthinking this."

Of course, if it turns out that the number of moves to which I'm limited is actually the minimum moves required to complete the puzzle--that is, each puzzle must be completed perfectly, with no room for error--I'm going to get irritated.

A nice compromise might be: first three attempts at a level, the level is reset after the maximum number of moves is made. After three attempts, the move counter goes away, but you get no bonus.

Sorry to be long-winded, but I've got a couple more comments. This is a BRILLIANT idea for a game, and I'm only being nitpicky because I really want to play it to completion--I wouldn't bother commenting so much on a game without a sound foundation.

I wish the numbers weren't quite so stylized to all look the same. They're visually appealing, but they're all starting to blur together. The growing and shrinking clouds around them are cool, though.

For a hint system, a "reveal target number" would be a blessing. Alternately, if anybody here is willing to create a hint-through in the form of a list of target numbers for each level, it'd be awesome!

Things are getting really goofy when I drag the mouse outside the flash window. I can't always get the game to recognize that I've finished dragging, and when I return the mouse to within the window (even with the button released) it reverts me to the number I had when the mouse left the flash window. I've realized that I can fix this by using two shorter moves that don't take the mouse outside the window, but I'm not sure whether this will always work; anyway, it seems like an unfortunate problem.

Not sure whether it's a problem with my Flash; I have Firefox 3.0.5 on a Mac and Shockwave Flash 10.0.

August 20, 2009 11:36 PM

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