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iPhone: iHitori

07-02-2009, 12:50 PM
#1
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 4,443
iHitori

iHitori - $1.99

"Elegant, challenging and fun!

iHitori for the iPhone is a polished, addictive game for anyone who loves logic games like Sudoku or Hitori. Whether you’re just learning to play or are already a fan, you’ll appreciate the challenges and sophistication of iHitori.

Game Features:

A sophisticated puzzle generator that creates a unique puzzle each time you play. No patterns so each game is challenging and fun.

Control: choose your puzzle size and number of tiles to control the level of difficulty.

Elegant, attractive Asian-themed graphics: soothing and easy on the eyes.


Game support: online forum to connect with other users, get your questions answered and submit feedback to the developers.

User-friendly interface.

RULES:
The objective of iHitori is to remove the tiles containing duplicate digits, by marking them in red, in all rows and columns. The remaining digits must appear once and only once for a row or column to be deemed as solved.

The game is won when all rows and all columns are solved.

A tile can have three colors:
White: An unmarked tile.

Green: A tile that has been touched once. Green tiles are marked temporarily while the user is deciding which of the tiles should be ‘removed’ from the row or column. Green tiles will turn red when touched twice.

Red: A tile that has been touched twice. Once marked as a red tile, it will be left out when evaluating the puzzle solution.

All the tiles can be turned from white to green, from green to red, or from red to white.

Tiles must obey the following rules:
The digits in the white and green tiles only appear once in any row or column.
The tiles marked in red cannot touch one another.
The white and green tiles must be connected in a single continuous path. In other words, the red tiles cannot be positioned in such a way that pockets of non-red tiles are isolated."




Now Playing: Vietnam '65 | .Decluster | BP2Black | Monster Hunter Freedom Unite | Banner Saga | Ultimate General Gettysburg | Papers, Please | SmartGo Kifu | Crowntakers | Brogue | FTL
07-02-2009, 01:34 PM
#2
Joined: Oct 2008
Location: United States of America
Posts: 2,210
Hopefully better than that piece of crap Chillingo one I wasted bucks on.

07-02-2009, 01:44 PM
#3
Joined: Jun 2009
Posts: 815
looks ok
07-02-2009, 09:43 PM
#4
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 4,443
Okay, I've put a little time into this one. First and foremost, I want to mention that it is a beautifully realized version of the original game, presented as it should be, in the Asian thematic style. The sumi-e inspired logo is amazing. The whole game is just pleasant to look at; simple, elegant, understated style.

The gameplay has elements of Sudoku and Nurikabe, but it is a solid game, in its own right. The goal is to ensure that there are no duplicate numbers in any row or column. There are three states for each number, the default white, the green to indicate a potential candidate, and red to indicate the negation of the tile.

Everything works as intended, but unfortunately, it does have a user interface issue that I find frustrating. At any time, a tap will cycle a tile through each of the states/colors...unless it would create an illegal move. The problem this creates is when you have a green tile adjacent to red/negated tile, it will not change to red, when you tap it. It does nothing and you can't switch it back to the default white, without flipping the red tile back, temporarily. So you have to do one of two things, either get in the habit of flipping your reds first, which is not ideal, or using the green state, right up until the puzzle is complete, which almost eliminates the usefulness of having a candidate state, in the first place. Other than that one usability issue, I think the game is quite good.

BTW, aficionados should note that the player can opt for puzzles from 5x5 (with "Tiles to Find" from 5 to 8) up to 9x9 (with "Tiles to Find" from 17 to 23).

UPDATE: The usability issue described above has been addressed in the latest update patch and it feels great now. Just wanted to make sure I updated my post accordingly.

Now Playing: Vietnam '65 | .Decluster | BP2Black | Monster Hunter Freedom Unite | Banner Saga | Ultimate General Gettysburg | Papers, Please | SmartGo Kifu | Crowntakers | Brogue | FTL

Last edited by djflippy; 07-13-2009 at 03:32 PM.
07-03-2009, 02:09 AM
#5
Joined: Oct 2008
Location: United States of America
Posts: 2,210
I guess we'll just have to wait for Hudson to port it over. They did a great job with Hitori on DS http://www.hudson.co.jp/puzzle/hitori/
07-03-2009, 01:27 PM
#6
Joined: Sep 2008
Location: Kent, England
Posts: 202
Quote:
Originally Posted by djflippy View Post
First and foremost, I want to mention that it is a beautifully realized version of the original game, presented as it should be, in the Asian thematic style. The sumi-e inspired logo is amazing. The whole game is just pleasant to look at; simple, elegant, understated style.
I agree this is a beautifully presented game, and works very smoothly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by djflippy View Post
Everything works as intended, but unfortunately, it does have a user interface issue that I find frustrating. At any time, a tap will cycle a tile through each of the states/colors...unless it would create an illegal move. The problem this creates is when you have a green tile adjacent to red/negated tile, it will not change to red, when you tap it. It does nothing and you can't switch it back to the default white, without flipping the red tile back, temporarily. So you have to do one of two things, either get in the habit of flipping your reds first, which is not ideal, or using the green state, right up until the puzzle is complete, which almost eliminates the usefulness of having a candidate state, in the first place. Other than that one usability issue, I think the game is quite good.
I have also found this to be a problem.

What I wondered though, was whether Hitori is supposed to have 'unique' solutions, because this one doesn't?

I also feel that this app would benefit from some sort of tracking mechanism so that you can see how you are progressing - at the moment you just play a game, get told you have solved it and that's it?
07-03-2009, 01:47 PM
#7
Joined: Oct 2008
Location: United States of America
Posts: 2,210
Quote:
Originally Posted by Selina View Post
I agree this is a beautifully presented game, and works very smoothly.


I have also found this to be a problem.

What I wondered though, was whether Hitori is supposed to have 'unique' solutions, because this one doesn't?
Yes of course it SHOULD. All Japanese logic games are ONE UNIQUE solution. No idea why people clone these games and screw up the fun of them by not making them unique solutions as they were created. Hudson would be rolling in its grave if they knew.
07-04-2009, 05:19 PM
#8
thanks, we're listening!

@djflippy: Thanks very much for your review, djflippy. Very glad to hear that you like the game and its graphics. We are taking note of all feedback (here and elsewhere) and will be releasing an update soon.

@everyone else: Thanks for giving the game a try! We appreciate your feedback as well. I'll have to let our developers answer the technical issues, but we are listening to everything and will be updating/improving the game as much as we can.
07-05-2009, 10:23 AM
#9
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 4,443
Quote:
Originally Posted by elevataincorporated View Post
@djflippy: Thanks very much for your review, djflippy. Very glad to hear that you like the game and its graphics. We are taking note of all feedback (here and elsewhere) and will be releasing an update soon.

@everyone else: Thanks for giving the game a try! We appreciate your feedback as well. I'll have to let our developers answer the technical issues, but we are listening to everything and will be updating/improving the game as much as we can.
Welcome to the forums! Beautiful game. Glad to see that it's being supported by the devs.

When you do the update, it would be nice if the tile flip animation was sped up just a bit. It feels a little too long, particularly when you make two flips, in succession.

I agree with Selina that there is very little feeling of progression. The inclusion of a "Campaign Mode" where the player moved through a series of progressively harder levels, might be the answer. You could still have a "Custom Mode", like you currently have, where the player simply adjusts the settings to their liking. Global leader boards might help too, but now we're talking about a lot of work! Addressing the usability issues seems like the first step.

Good luck on your game.

Now Playing: Vietnam '65 | .Decluster | BP2Black | Monster Hunter Freedom Unite | Banner Saga | Ultimate General Gettysburg | Papers, Please | SmartGo Kifu | Crowntakers | Brogue | FTL
07-05-2009, 11:53 AM
#10
Joined: Jul 2009
Posts: 12
iHitori Update

First of all, than you all for providing useful feedback on iHitori.

We just updated the behavior of the tiles so that you now can turn a "green tile" back to being a "white tile" when turning it into a "red tile" would trigger an invalid move. We also changed the duration of the flip animation from .5 second down to .3 second.

We are going to build the game and submit to Apple today as an update. It may take a few days for Apple to approve it and push it down to iTunes.

The next update will be adding a switch on the settings page where you can tell the program to pick a random number of tiles without telling you how many it selected. The switch will allow you to also tell the program that you want to control the number of tiles to find manually.

Concerning the uniqueness of the solution of the generated puzzle, it is a non-trivial problem to solve on an iPhone in a reasonable amount of time. There are two families of algorithms to generate a puzzle within the constraints of the rules of the game:

1. Start from a pattern and create "holes" in it to determine what the tiles to find are going to be. Once these tiles have been determined, assign digits to them and to the other "non duplicate" tiles.This is the easiest option since the algorithm is pretty simple. The major drawback of this approach is that it generates semi-obvious puzzles where tiles are disseminated in such a way that the player can "guess" where the tiles are since they are all positioned from a pattern with a few tiles displaced. This is not the approach we took with iHitori.

2. Build a puzzle from a blank grid by distributing duplicate tiles within the constraints of the rules of the game by picking them at random. Once the dupes have been determined, assign the digits. This is the approach that we use inside iHitori. This is a much more complex algorithm since we now need to check that the rules of the game are followed every time a duplicate tile is added. This algorithm generates puzzles that are *not* obvious.

Approach #2 guarantees that there is *at least* one valid solution to the puzzle. In order to guarantee that there is one and only one solution to a generated puzzle, we would need to implement an extension to the algorithm by doing either of the following:

2.a. Once a puzzle is generated, solve it and detect if there are at least two solutions. In this case, discard the puzzle and start over.
2.b. Solve the generated puzzle and if there are at least two solutions, implement another algorithm that will "fix it".

Option 2.a. has the major drawback that we have no idea how long it is going to take before a puzzle with a unique solution is generated. This means that now and then we will hit a series of puzzles without a unique solution. The game would then get into a long loop of "generate puzzle", "there is more than one solution", "discard the puzzle and try again". This is not, in our opinion, an acceptable solution.

Option 2.b. is the one we are working on right now. The iPhone has the computing power equivalent to a Pentium 100MHz (we are talking about the CPU, not the GPU) and it is *significantly* slower than a dual core Macintosh. This kind of algorithm that "fixes" a puzzle can be resource intensive. We want to keep the time needed to generate a puzzle under 3 seconds otherwise the user experience degrades rapidly. At this point, we have a first version of the algorithm that "fixes" puzzles but the iPhone is not fast enough to run it under 3 seconds. We are still working on modifying and optimizing the algorithm to reach this goal.