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Puzzle

Axel & Pixel Review

Absurdly Delightful

Axel &  Pixel Screenshot

HIGH The surreal, abstract nature of the adventure.

LOW Putting important collectibles in action sequences without checkpoints.

WTF Pretty much everything you see on-screen.

Crimson Room: Reverse Review

Check Behind Everything Eight Times

Crimson Room: Reverse Screenshot

HIGH Fantastic premise.

LOW Horribly disingenuous design.

WTF It's either impossible, or over in ten minutes—there's no in-between.

PixelJunk Shooter Review

Going with the Flows

PixelJunk Shooter Screenshot

HIGH Neutralizing a pool of lava with one well-placed shot

LOW The ship can take hardly any damage at all.

WTF Why is collecting diamonds so important on a rescue mission?

Machinarium Review

You Won't Even Notice that All the Humans are Gone

Machinarium Screenshot

HIGH: Overlooking the city from the game's high points.

LOW: The somewhat anti-climactic ending.

WTF: The oddly convenient series of pipes in one of the puzzles.

Taking pleasure in the unoriginal

Taking pleasure in the unoriginal

My favorite game to play on travel recently has been Chessmaster: The Art of Learning for the PlayStation Portable. It's not a great chess game by any means, but it was a digital download for my favorite portable system, and it's good for playing quick sessions just about anywhere.

The odd thing is, I've been playing chess almost rabidly as of late, and not just on the go or in the bathroom. I've enjoyed playing Chessmaster again so much—just sitting around on the couch or playing at my desk for hours on end—that I've encouraged my girlfriend to take part in a few real games of chess now and then, and it's quickly become one of the little joys of our living together.

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