Review: Ponere 1.0.1
Mac OS 8.6 with CarbonLib 1.1 or Mac OS X 10.1,
14 MB application RAM, thousands of colors.
Trial: Feature-limited (only first few levels)
Ponere is a two-dimensional puzzle game with sliding pieces. Scrambled figures must be reconstructed by manipulating tiles with directional arrows at the boundaries of the puzzle field. Ponere consists of 60 progressively more difficult levels.
You install the downloaded version by dragging the Ponere folder to a hard drive location. Double-click the application icon, and you are ready to play. The easiest method for registering Ponere is to go to the e-mail receipt containing the code, copy the entire e-mail onto the clipboard, launch Ponere, and choose “Enter Code” from the Degana menu.
The main screen has three buttons: New Game, Tutorial, and Quit. Ponere’s tutorial uses two informational screens to show how the game is played. Scrambled tiles need to be repositioned to form either the original shapes (simple levels) or a number of closed loops (advanced levels). The arrow keys along the borders of the playing regions move all the tiles in a row or column in the direction of the arrow. Tiles will wrap around when they reach the edge of a playing region. Once you have recreated a required shape or a closed loop, clicking on it removes it from the board when playing at the Basic level. In the Advanced and Wizard levels, clicking a closed loop shape removes the loop while leaving the tiles intact and in place. Pressing the spacebar eliminates all completed loops. To complete the more advanced levels, you need to create a series of closed loops that use all the tiles. A single puzzle can have shapes created from different colored tiles. The colored tiles cannot be mixed.
Information from Ponere’s Tutorial
When you first click on New Game, Ponere asks you to input your name. Ponere can be played by many different users, and the game keeps track of each user’s scores. The New Game window has buttons across the top to select the difficulty (Basic, Advanced, or Wizard). Each difficulty has twenty game levels. Clicking on a puzzle picture shows your statistics for the level: number of attempts, number of completions, and best score. Ponere also displays the top player and top score for each level. To play the selected level, click the Play button. The Switch User button allows you to choose or create a different user. The Main Menu button returns you to the main screen.
New Game Window
The playing window shows the level, score, bonus points, and other statistics to the right of the tiles. A small graphic of the original shape is shown below the statistics. The Restart button resets the current level. The Quit button quits the level, not the game. It sends you back to the New Game window. To quit Ponere, choose Quit from the File menu (or type Command-Q).
Ponere game screen with scrambled tiles.
The game has only a few settings, sensibly found under the Settings menu. Game sounds can be toggled off and on. Background music (keyboard-based light jazz pieces) also can be toggled off and on. Note that Ponere’s background music stops automatically if another application is brought to the foreground. Selecting Full Screen centers Ponere over a black background. Otherwise, Ponere plays in a moveable, collapsible window. The “Use 16 bit color” setting toggles the main monitor of the Macintosh between millions of colors and thousands of colors. Switching to thousands of colors may improve game response when playing Ponere on an older Macintosh.
Instructions and Help
Ponere comes with a short Read Me file and the tutorial. These adequately describe system requirements and game play. A section describing the scoring algorithm and playing strategies would be useful.
Ponere is a remarkable improvement over the standard square picture grid puzzle. Ponere looks nice, plays smoothly, and presents enough levels to provide hours of challenging play to even the best logicians.