Marble and Tristate are two excellent and unique brainteasers that play like a cross between three classic board games: Black Box, Mastermind, and Nonogram – all rolled into one. Your objective in Marble is to roll balls through a maze and observe their behavior to deduce the locations of hidden widgets, which can be anything from simple mirrors to more complicated devices such as one-way flippers, sliders, tunnels, and more. Similarly, your objective in Tristate is to flip various true/false switches to discover the correct locations of logic gates that will make your circuit an exact replica of the hidden circuit. |
Like all good brainteasers, Marble and Tristate are very easy to learn and play, but difficult to master. You place widgets or logic gates in the maze, then roll a ball or flip a switch to observe the outcome. You must use all the given widgets/logic gates, so there is only one correct solution for each puzzle. The games have no 'campaign' mode, i.e. the game is over once you solve (or lose) a maze, which are all randomly generated.
As with Mastermind, astute deduction is key to winning in Marble and Tristate. The fewer moves you take to solve the maze and the fewer mistakes you make, the higher your score. The random (with customization options) levels ensure virtually unlimited replayability, and the nature of the game makes it ideal as a coffee break puzzler. Both games are fun, addictive, and challenging on higher difficulty levels. Tristate even serves an educational purpose of teaching you about machine logic. As two of the best puzzlers I have ever come across, both games come highly recommended.
Note: Although touted as "shareware," you only need to contact the designer Peter Balch to receive your free registration code via e-mail. Thanks, Peter!
Reviewed by: Underdogs