No more lost pieces with Jigsaw World
Jigsaw World is a Facebook-based puzzle title from Inertia Game Studios. The game challenges players to complete jigsaws as quickly as possible, then allows them to compare their performance against friends and others around the world. The title has been available since January 2012 and has been steadily picking up users since. It is also showing up prominently on Facebook’s Games page suggestions.
Jigsaw World dispenses with in-depth tutorials and simply throws players directly into an initial puzzle which turns out to be the game’s logo. The controls are simple and intuitive — clicking and dragging a piece moves it, while clicking and dragging with the right mouse button allows the player to scroll their view around. Pieces automatically “snap” to each other, and there is no need to rotate them.
There is also a toolbar at the top of the play area which allows the player to arrange the pieces around the edge of where they can build the picture, display a template or open a guide image to compare to their puzzle. These options are not explicitly introduced to the player, but the interface features clear tooltips when the mouse pointer is hovered over them.
The game is a largely solitary experience, as is perhaps to be expected from a jigsaw simulator. However, the inclusion of global and friends leaderboards adds a competitive element to gameplay. Upon completing a puzzle, players are able to see their worldwide ranking and compare their best times to other people. They are also forced to leave a star rating for each puzzle they complete, allowing the game to build up a database of which puzzles have proven the most popular among the player base.
The player is provided with 19 puzzles of between 96 and 204 pieces each to get them started. These may be replayed at any time, but additional puzzles may also be acquired with the coins acquired after each challenge. These coins may also be purchased using Facebook Credits for those who wish to immediately acquire specific puzzles.
In a pleasing nod to personalization of the experience, players may also create custom jigsaw puzzles using their Facebook photo albums. These custom puzzles may also be sent to Facebook friends, effectively allowing groups of peers playing the game to set up their own custom mini-tournaments with their own photographs. This is a nice touch which allows players to feel like they have a sense of ownership over their experience — even better, creating puzzles from Facebook pictures is free, providing those who do not wish to pay for coins with a means of extending their experience beyond the initial puzzle pack.
Jigsaw World’s presentation is simple but effective. The interface is clear and easy to understand, while sound effects are limited entirely to a simple “click” sound when pieces are successfully snapped together. There is no repetitive background music, making it an eminently suitable “coffee break” game to play while players are doing other things with their computer — perhaps with their own music on.
Jigsaw World promotes itself via the automatic generation of News Feed stories when players achieve new levels or complete puzzle packs. This will help inform other Facebook users of the game’s existence, but some players would likely prefer the option to not automatically share their activity. There does not appear to be the facility to switch this off, which may deter some players concerned about “spamming” their friends — though those familiar with Facebook’s new permissions page may know to take advantage of the facility to make posts only visible to themselves.
This issue aside, Jigsaw World is a simple but effective implementation of the jigsaw puzzle on Facebook. Its interface is clear and simple to understand and the game offers a good variety of content for free. The game will likely monetize reasonably well with the currently available puzzle packs, though many players will likely choose the free option to create their own puzzles rather than pay for or earn coins. The fact that this particular service is not charged for is a very player-friendly move, though it may end up hurting the game’s profitability in the long run.
A good implementation of the jigsaw puzzle formula on Facebook, though some users may prefer more control over the game’s viral promotion features.