Very puzzling

Expect to pay for puzzles with this limited program.

If loving jigsaw puzzles makes us nerdy, we're OK with that. Any true puzzle lover has high standards, though, and we're afraid that if you're serious about puzzles, Jigsaw Puzzle Lite may not be for you--at least not if you're looking for a free puzzle program.

The program's interface is plain, with a pane across the top that displays the different categories of puzzles; there are animals, architecture, food, nature, and so on. Click a category and the various puzzle offerings are displayed in the pane below. There are 25 puzzles in each category, but only 3 of them are accessible; the rest are labeled "demo" and have to be purchased. The puzzles that actually are available with Jigsaw Puzzle Lite top out at 15 pieces, which would bore even a kid in elementary school pretty quickly. The program's one redeeming feature is the puzzle creator, which lets users create puzzles--up to 1,160 pieces--from their own images. This alone could potentially make the program worthwhile; it's easy enough to track down attractive images online and turn them into puzzles instead of relying on precreated ones. The program has no Help file, but this isn't a huge drawback, as none of its features are particularly difficult to understand. Overall, Jigsaw Puzzle Lite isn't a bad choice if you want to create your own puzzles or if you're willing to pony up $9.95 for each 25-puzzle pack, but we've seen similar programs that offer high-quality puzzles for free.

Jigsaw Puzzle Lite installs a desktop icon without asking but uninstalls cleanly.

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