JigSaw Solace takes everything that your grandmother loves about putting together jigsaw puzzles and dismantles it piece by piece. There are no hidden secrets or interesting ways that they have combined the classic tabletop puzzle and formed it into an interesting concept. What you see is what you get: a selection of images that you can break up into randomised jigsaw puzzles that you then must reassemble. Unfortunately, they don’t even take this simple idea and wrap it up with a nice bow, as this one is total bore finished off with pretty bad controls.
You are presented with a title screen that also doubles as the playfield and settings page. Efficient! However, this is seriously where you will see everything, with directions for the controls in the upper right-hand corner of the screen, puzzle selection on the right, and then the puzzle itself in the centre-left. I will never understand why a developer thinks having a single page be where your entire game takes place makes sense, but that’s just me.
You can choose between thirty potential puzzles, each of which is marked by a theme. From there you choose the size you wish to play with, which determines the number of pieces the puzzle is broken down into and thus the overall difficulty. As far as puzzles go, none of these are going to be unsolvable, it is just a differentiation between the amount of time you will be spending sifting through the pieces to complete the image. Replay value here is pretty low, as you can finish these puzzles rather quickly, but I would say the initial value is questionable right from the start.
The controls don’t allow you to work very efficiently. You use the directional pad to navigate the menu and puzzle pieces, but then must grab the piece with the A button and drag with the analogue stick. Why you can’t move the pieces with the directional pad you were already using is a mystery to me. Movement feels really awkward in practice. Also, the menus get really sticky with the directional pad. I would have to try multiple times to have my selection stay as is before it would let me move away.
Background music is a selection of easy-listening tunes, of which I found myself not having any major issue, but it definitely shouldn’t be considered a selling point. The music doesn’t change up much and you will find yourself listening to the same sorts of music, even if they are technically different songs. You would mostly find this soundtrack also playing in elevators or doctor’s office waiting rooms, so don’t get too excited.
For some reason, one of the drop-downs on the menu allows you to also change the background colour behind the puzzle and menu. These range from blue clouds to purple clouds, to another shade of blue clouds. I am guessing they didn’t feel like there were enough menu options so they took the Windows 98 cloud wallpaper and put it through a colour shader so you could have some sweet, sweet customisation options.
Overall, the presentation is bad, the controls are bad, and the package as a whole is something I can’t imagine anyone actually spending money on. Possibly, this could be a title you grab for a hardcore jigsaw puzzle fan, but honestly you should just save up a bit more money and buy a real jigsaw puzzle instead.
JigSaw Solace £3.59
JigSaw Solace is not a good game. The controls are bad, the presentation is a joke, and the overall package is something I couldn’t recommend unless you were absolutely desperate to do a jigsaw puzzle. Save your money.