Friday, January 12, 2007

Heaven & Earth

Title: Heaven & Earth
Author: Buena Vista Software
License: Commercial/Abandoned

I recently played through several old compilation puzzle games and am going to start the year by reviewing them over the next couple of weeks. These compilation games contain a series of puzzle types with 20 or more puzzles in each category. The programs keep track of your progress. Completing all of the puzzles in every category is quite a challenge.

The first one is Heaven & Earth. It came out way back in 1991, but is still loads of fun to play. It runs just fine on today's Windows XP machine. The controls are little goofy. You use the mouse sometimes and keyboard at other times. You have to click to move on to the next puzzle. Just use your DOS zen thinking (or read the manual) to figure it out. Also, Heaven & Earth does not contain any sound (not quite true, but almost).

Heaven & Earth actually contains three subgames: pendulum, a card game, and the illusions . I am only going to review the illusions. I never enjoyed the other two subgames, and there is more than enough puzzle gaming goodness in the illusions to keep you going for a long time.

The illusions contains 12 different puzzle types, three of which are described below. Each puzzle type contains 40 puzzles, divided into four groups of ten. The puzzles get progressively more difficult, and when moving from one group of ten to the next, an addition twist is usually added. The on-line help fully describes the rules for each game.

Heaven & Earth can be downloaded for free from one of the programmers (the link above). I guess this is legal. The first time the game is run, you have to answer a question from the manual. I actually still have mine, but in case you lost yours, the answers are also available at this website.

Convex Concave

You have to combine the blue pieces together to form the green figure. The tricky part is in choosing the order in which to place the pieces. You have to get the 3-D shading correct. This requires that you overlap the pieces in the right order.


This is one of my favorites. The goal is simple enough, get the blue square to the circle. However, with an antimaze, you can move the blue square through walls, but not through free space. Sure it is just the duel of a regular maze, and should be just a easy, but our brains are hardwired with years of regular mazes to make these antimazes oddly difficult.

Fit Fall

Fit Fall is simple enough, fit the pieces in the grid. You can rotate and flip the pieces. A later variant increases the depth of the grid.


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