The iPhone/iPod Touch platform certainly has no shortage of high-quality, original puzzle games and Trixel is no exception. This title is challenging without feeling frustrating, features a simple yet charming presentation and has loads of content to work through.

Trixel is a logic-based tile-matching game that tasks players with recreating patterns by sliding and flipping coloured tiles across the game board. The game starts out simply enough, but soon escalates into a highly refined challenge that will keep puzzle fans scratching their heads for hours.

The early puzzles in Trixel are played on a small playing field and can be solved with relative ease by sliding and flipping the tiles to match a pattern displayed in the upper left of your screen. The tiles flip between two contrasting colors and you can only be moved horizontally and vertically at first.

The 100 plus puzzles in Trixel are broken down into four tiers; easy, medium, hard and bonus.  Each puzzle is scored as gold, silver or bronze depending on the amount of moves it takes to solve. Early puzzles can be solved in less than five moves, but by the time you reach hard mode you will be looking at a 5×5 square playing field with puzzles that will take at least 25 moves to solve. Taking too many moves will cause you to fail that puzzle and have to restart it.

As you make your way through the easy puzzles you will be introduced to special tiles. Some tiles will allow you to move diagonally, while others will warp you from one part of the playing field to another, bomb a section of the field to flip multiple tiles, or even nuke the whole field to flip every tile. Sometimes crystals will appear after you flip a tile. These crystals can be collected and spent on things like undoing moves or even used to skip levels entirely.

The medium puzzles in Trixel introduce sequence tiles that must be flipped in order. Arrowhead tiles will flip entire rows or columns. Coloured nukes will flip all the tiles to a specific colour. Blinking tiles contain two items and counter tiles must be landed on a set number of times in order to complete a puzzle. Finally, rollback tiles are introduced in the hard puzzles and will reset all the tiles to their initial state.

You will soon realize that these special tiles are not meant as aids, but to create some fiendishly tricky puzzles that will test your logic and ability to plan ahead. Getting a gold ranking, even in the latter part of the easy puzzles can be difficult. However, because Trixel is scored by the number of moves it takes you to solve a puzzle and is not timed, the main mode of the game does not become frantic or frustrating.

Once you have completed enough puzzles, Race The Clock mode becomes available. This mode certainly is frantic and provides a marked increase in challenge over the main puzzle mode. The goal is to solve 12 puzzles in a row in the shortest possible time while being confronted with a countdown timer. Collecting crystals in this mode will allow you buy a few extra seconds. Puzzles are not scored by the amount of moves in this mode, beating them is simply a matter of survival. There are four levels of difficulty in Race the Clock mode; relaxed, fast, frantic and furious, providing a further 48 puzzles to master.

The graphical presentation of Trixel takes a minimalist approach and is perfectly suited to this type of game. Everything is drawn in crisp 2D and features bright colours and clean lines. The tiles are big enough that they can be slid or flipped with ease using a single finger or thumb. I really appreciate that because I find that touchable buttons in iPhone/iPod Touch or DS titles are often too small or awkward. This also helps Trixel to be one of the more accessible iPhone/iPod Touch titles I’ve encountered.

The in-game music and sound effects also suit Trixel rather well and are quite pleasant on the ears. Like all good iPhone/iPod Touch games, Trixel allows you to listen to music from your device library while playing the game.

It’s hard to find any major faults with Trixel. The included puzzles are incredibly refined and the difficulty ramps up at a very manageable pace. There is enough content to keep players interested for several hours and the $2.99 asking price is spot on. There are some things that could be included in future updates like more puzzles, a puzzle editor or online leaderboards to track Race the Clock mode scores. Even without these features however, Trixel is among the top tier of recent portable puzzle games, whether on the iPhone/iPod Touch or not.


+ Clean, Crisp Presentation
+ Highly Refined Puzzles
+ Accessible, Playable with One Finger
+ Challenging without Frustration


– No Puzzle Editor