I know not everyone enjoys a logic puzzle, but plenty of people obviously do. The wide spread availability of logic puzzles in the App Store is a pretty good indicator of their popularity and certain apps like Numbrosia, any variety of Sudoku, and the recently released Sevens, indicates there’s a pretty large audience for number-based logic puzzles specifically. As a relatively big fan of such puzzles myself, I was more than pleased to give Numeri a place on my iPhone — even if only briefly.
The concept of Numeri, which mimics the original puzzle concept known as Slitherlink, is to create a continuous line around various numbers on a grid making sure that each square on the grid has the same number of line segments as the value in the square itself. Make sense? Probably not, but it’s easier to see it than to have it explained. There are several online versions that are similar, including puzzle loop, but you can also actually watch the video below for a better idea of Numeri.
Numeri is the iPhone and iPod touch version of Slitherlink with a 5 x 6 grid containing numbers valued 0 to 3 within various squares on the grid. Your objective is to make the continuous loop line fit around all the numbers with the number of sides matching the value of each square it circumvents.
The translation from what started as a paper and pen puzzle to an iPhone app is an excellent idea, but I’m not sure how much I like this interpretation. Numeri is pleasantly designed and features the ability to clear the puzzle to restart, get the puzzle solution and start a new one by tapping on the left and right facing arrows. These are both useful features in a puzzle. My major gripe with Numeri is the user-interface. I don’t particularly like the fact that that you aren’t working with segments of a line, but an actual closed loop circuit. You can push or pull a line segment around the grid, but you constantly have a continuous closed loop to work with, rather than choosing your segments and then ultimately connecting them yourself.
While the visual contrast of grid and numbers in Numeri is pleasing and the numbers turn from red to white when you validate a cell, which helps define the correct path, the overall UI still pretty much ruins it for me. I like the online versions where you can complete the puzzle one segment at a time and I don’t see any reason that couldn’t have been implemented in Numeri. The touch interface of the iPhone would easily allow for tapping and activating a single segment rather than the entire square. As it is, having the line remain a continuous loop that you have to configure around the numbers is a bit too static and less fun than attacking the puzzle one line segment at a time.
The overall puzzle concept of Numeri is fun and t’s by no means impossible to get the hang of the interface as is, but I strongly feel it could have been a better end-user experience if it played out the way many online versions do – one line segment at a time. For a closer look at Numeri, check out the following video: