48 Tower-Building Puzzles
Etter Drei presents 48 puzzles about constructing towers out of giant 3D blocks so as to reach a pulsing dot that serves as the goal. You move the blocks by controlling a floating pinata-like character who is, at times, smaller than the blocks.
How to Play
Presented against a stark black and white background, each puzzle setting starts with large 3D blocks scattered around and a hard-to-reach goal dot. Etter Drei immediately grabs your attention by having a brightly-colored pinata-type character float into the scene, accompanied by background beeps and bops that add to the surreal nature of the setting. When you touch the character, he joins to your finger and you can direct him toward one of the blocks. The character attaches a rope to the block of your choice; and you then pull or scoot the block by directing the character.
At first, you are simply stacking blocks on top of each other to reach the goal. But then you encounter bounce areas that reject blocks placed there. The blocks also vary in characteristics. Some are broken, so they can't be lifted; others are "ghost" blocks, so they can't be the last block placed to reach the goal. A few require extreme care in their moving, since they are fragile; and some float, so you have to figure out how to weigh them down. Weather components such as wind and rain also add to the challenge.
If you are connected to the internet, up to two other players can randomly join your puzzle, each represented as another colorful pinata. Some of the puzzles specify that you need another player to solve. You can't add an extra player on your own device, rather, you must wait for someone to show up.
Our first experience with the app was very positive. These puzzles about lifting and moving blocks to create towers seemed fascinating and exciting. We tugged and hefted the blocks to make them do our bidding. And when, after experimenting, we built a structure that reached the goal, it felt good. We found like-minded adventurers playing; and enjoyed learning and collaborating with random unknown others to solve these fun puzzles. There are even a few words you can click on to communicate with others.
However, a second experience wasn't as positive. Every puzzle we tried was interrupted by others; and they weren't there to help. Their sole purpose was to hinder our progress. Our solution was to go to the settings of our device and turn off the internet.
This app would be better if it let you decide when to add multiple players, instead of constantly letting anonymous players enter your exploration. Since anonymity can breed bad sportsmanship, perhaps the developers can come up with a way to kick out players who are being mean. Also, we would love to be able to play with others in the same room on the same device.
Etter Drei is a good fit for kids who like Legos and Minecraft. They will spend time exploring such concepts as how to balance and cantilever blocks.
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