Simple yet challenging puzzle

Test your spatial skills with this tile-based jigsaw puzzle game.

AlterJig is a simple tile-based jigsaw puzzle game that is much more challenging than it seems at first. Instead of irregular jigsaw pieces, AlterJig uses identical squares that are rotated in groups of four around the points where their corners touch. The puzzle scrambles the inner squares but not the edge squares; the object is to rotate the tiles to complete the picture. The game includes several image puzzles with different levels of difficulty, but you can make your own puzzle from any properly formatted bitmap image. The game includes a basic but clear Help file, but the brief animated demo is all most people will need to learn how to use AlterJig.

AlterJig's interface is a compact window with an image with a grid superimposed over it. The first game that opened depicted a Chinese-style dragon. We clicked Game-New Game, which scrambled the image. We quickly got the hang of moving images by rotating the groups one by one, but just as quickly realized that it's nowhere near as easy as it sounds. Nevertheless, we pressed on, completing the picture in something record time. The game's options let us set the motion's step and delay via sliders as well as enable sound effects, restore the last game, and set the game's screen position. Clicking Select Game let us choose other puzzle images, while the Add Pictures wizard made it very easy to create our own puzzle background from our picture library.

That's about it for this simple-to-learn yet challenging-to-master game. It's a good test of your spatial skills, and it's fun and diverting. And given that you can turn any bitmap image into a new puzzle, your supply of puzzles is endless.

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