Finger Tied Review

After twenty retries, I relinquished my arthritic grip on the iPad. I just outwitted Finger Tied’s final puzzle. Not in record time, mind you, but completion’s completion. While the ligaments and tendons in my hands felt sore, and I’m pretty sure I left the experience with minor carpal tunnel, Finger Tied wasted away the hours, much like a session of Angry Birds or Super Hexagon would. As an iPad-only title, developer Streaming Colour’s app stitches together multi-touch functionality and clever finger arrangement into a sleek package that has the challenge to match every wit players possess.

As a game of finger Twister, the first trick involves finding the ideal hand placement for the ensuing obstacle. Each of the 102 levels contain one, two, three, or four separately colored shapes, which, predictably, require that amount of digits to manipulate. Once your fingers are in position, you must must drag the polygons from their starting points to the end, highlighting every space of the black grid in-between.


I don't recommend using three fingers on the same hand for this puzzle. 


The game starts throwing combinations of two or three shapes at you immediately. Figuring out the appropriate finger placement remains as baffling as the route your fingertips must take. Sometimes you’ll have to rest a finger on the circle, then navigate the square and triangle’s courses as they bend around your finger held firmly in place. You do not have to drag shapes at the same time, however, nor do their paths have to be symmetric. The only advantage of doing so results in speedier leaderboard times.

Lifting your fingers or backtracking any time during these puzzles ends in failure, but I never had to restart due to gameplay errors. Unlike the motley shooters and platformers inhabiting the App Store, Finger Tied plays to the iPad’s strengths, tracking each sliding movement with unmatched precision. Just heed my advice: lay the caseless iPad on a flat surface. This led to fewer cramps and made rotating the device much easier.

Difficulty ranges from beginner to hard, and every challenge set contains at least one taxing puzzle that will leave you icing your fingers. Some tiles even require you to pass through and leave that block in certain directions, or highlight said block with a specific shape. My double-jointed thumbs definitely helped me in some of the more complex maneuvers, yet my claw-like vice on the iPad reawakened faint memories of Heavy Rain’s Ethan Mars, abandoned warehouses, and context-sensitive prompts. Less flexible gamers with friends on hand can bring their fingers into the mix. Co-op diminishes any potential discomfort, though this task presents its own problem: coordinating other individuals’ efforts.

The video's music, while not the dorkiest part of the film, grows repetitive as the game's sole track and all. 


You’ll also need those friends if you want to get some enjoyment out of Finger Tied’s level editor. Right now, there’s no way to share custom puzzles with other buyers, so you’ll be passing the iPad around the room. However, the game keeps the fun fair. You must shape the puzzle as if you were solving it, finger placement and all.

The lack of level sharing notwithstanding, Streaming Colour’s latest knows simplicity, a fact that permeates every square grid of the presentation. The sleek interface basks the game in shades of orange, blue, green, and purple, ensuring you always know when to cease backtracking. Levels take seconds to complete, and increasing the player count makes for an ideal entry on family game nights. For $2.99 dollars ($0.99 for a limited time), you can’t ask much more of a game that executes on what it wants.  

Publisher: N/A
Developer: Streaming Colour Studios
Release Date: October 18, 2012
Number of Players: 1-4 (Cooperative)
Platforms: iPad (Reviewed)

John Tarr's picture

This game sounds awesome. I love the idea of using physical limitations as a puzzle mechanic. I'd buy it if I had an iPad...

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