Squaremaster – Puzzles, Tetris & Perplexity

Dec 6, 2017
Puzzle

Squaremaster is a puzzle game with serenely calming music that is all about pairing the same numbers or colors together.

In Squaremaster you have a limited four by four grid and four different numbers that need to be placed. Like Tetris, they will only disappear if you line up four of them in the exact right way, either through the same number or the same colour.

At the start, the strategy is quite simple; give each number their own respective columns and endeavour to only put the number in that column. For the first few iterations, you will able to not clog up the square nicely, as each number will fit in perfectly. The problem begins when you start getting additional numbers that exceed your grid. If you start a round with three twos in the column, but then get given three more twos to place, what are you going to do?

If you start a round with three twos in the column, but then get given three more twos to place, what are you going to do?.

Therein lays the continuous challenge of Squaremaster, forcing you to need to adapt continuously to the changing game state.

The game is made all the more complex by how deletes rows. Instead of wiping them out the moment that you complete a necessary row of same numbers or colours, it only checks the board after you’ve used every single block given to you, or filled the grid entirely. This means you can be sitting on exactly what you need to win, but be unable to place it down due to the board being full.

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This is the main change from other puzzle games of this type that sets Squaremaster apart. The limitations imposed on the player ensure that the challenge remains constant throughout the game.

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The issue with this kind of restriction is that it leaves the gameplay locked behind luck. Success for the player relies on getting favourable new numbers throughout the game, leaving it impossible to get a high score solely through good skill.

This kind of problem isn’t really solved any other way than changing the base mechanics.

This kind of problem isn’t really solved any other way than changing the base mechanics.

It is an interesting problem, however. Gameplay wise, it makes the game more challenging and interesting for the player, but only in the short term. In the long term, it makes the player frustrated by being unable to adequately progress in the game or make significant scores.

Squaremaster remains an enjoyable game that manages to combine older elements of Tetris gameplay with limiting the player to a small space and making them fight themselves – and their own logic – for victory. If there was a way to continue the challenge and intuitiveness of Squaremaster’s design without limiting the player’s scores or satisfaction, it would be far better.

Even without that, Squaremaster is fun and satisfying for a decent amount of time. The gameplay is fun, the ascetic is pleasing and cute with just the right kind of music and it gives the player just the right kind of desire to keep playing.

Our Rating

ProsCons
Satisfying gameplay combined with great ascetic. Limiting the player behind the scoring system provides a satisfying challenge.Can feel unsatisfactory in the long term when you realise you can’t get decent scores due to randomness.
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Rating
8/10
Squaremaster
Developer: Rene Gross
Price: Free
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