May 14, 2007

Another game with dangerously addictive properties. In Slitherlink your objective is to draw lines around boxes with numbers in them. The number in a box represents the number of sides of that box which must have lines round them, so it can range from zero to four. There are usually empty boxes on the play-field too, and it doesn’t matter how many lines there are around an empty box. But as well as satisfying the number constraints, you also have to satisfy the rule which says that you must create a single line which has to be unbroken and continuous, with no loops or dead ends (isn’t there a term for a line like that, topographically speaking?).

I’m slightly at a loss to understand why I like this game so much. Generally, I don’t like number puzzles or logic games. But I do like “action” puzzle games like Tetris. Perhaps it’s the way that SlitherLink sort of resembles an action puzzle game (none more than my own PipeMania, perhaps; maybe it’s just sub-conscious ego!) even though it’s really a logic/number game. Or perhaps it’s because the puzzle is spatial rather than purely numeric. Anyway, I recommend it for a quiet brain teaser for a few minutes.

(I gather from my knowledgable puzzle-playing friends that this version is imperfect because some of the puzzles admit multiple solutions, whereas “true” SlitherLink should have exactly one solution for each puzzle. Oh, well. This version is nicely implemented and doesn’t require java, unlike some others, so it’s still worth a look if you just want to try the idea out.)

4 comments by 2 or more people

1. Steven Carpenter

I’m still completely hooked on Slitherlink on my DS. It’s a great way to spend a few minutes or several hours. I particularly like the way it’s possible to be seemingly stuck, then to suddenly find a solution by moving one or two lines around. Great, simple concept.

14 May 2007, 16:35

2. I’ve been doing them in the Sudoku puzzle books, I think they’re called Loop The Loop or something. They are quite interesting fun.

14 May 2007, 23:06

3. Trevor Hawkes

“isn’t there a term for a line like that, topographically speaking?” Topologists call them simple closed curves and define them in a highly technical fashion which is intuitively equivalent to saying you can stretch a rubber band round them without cuts or crossovers.

14 May 2007, 23:11

4. naz

I thought the lines were simply called “bars”, as in “isobars”. And the puzzles in Sudoku books are good. Each island has a certain number of bridges, the number of which is written on the island. Bridges can’t cross, and people must be able to travel from any given island to any other. Slitherlink is similar though waaaay simpler.

16 May 2007, 13:07

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