Forests are dark, scary, forbidding places with a reputation for having mystery, horror, and nefarious beings lurking around every bend. It's a concept that's firmly cemented in popular culture as well as ancient lore, so who would want to travel there alone? Not the Peablins nor any of the sweet little creatures who need the comfort of a friend in 10Tons' mobile puzzle game (also available as a Mac/Windows download), Joining Hands.
Help the Peablins and their friends join up by moving each around the puzzle grid until all free hands are locked together, bringing much comfort and lighting the path toward the next section. Things are complicated by the varying quirks of different Peablins, and the ideal link—or isolation where needed—is often far from obvious. Yet, controls-wise, this task is so effortless on the touch screen that it's practically second nature.
Each of the 10 chapters has 18 levels totaling 180 puzzles that progress from rather easy to the verge of a head-thumping conundrum. At times the difficulty curve is wobbly but you can usually skip to the next chapter after solving six levels; so if you want to play at a faster pace, that option is welcome. Joining Hands shares a lot with the Flash game that was inspired by it, Happy Dead Friends, yet it is much more complex and lengthy, perfectly suited to mobile devices, something you can put down and easily pick up again wherever you find yourself empty-handed and in need of a diversion.
Note: Although there are downloads available for Mac and Windows platforms, the mobile version of Joining Hands was played for this review.
NOTE: This game was played and reviewed on an iPhone 4S. Game was available in the North American market at the time of publication, but may not be available in other territories. Please see individual app market pages for purchasing info.