If you’re a little tired of hidden object games, Puzzle Chasers is a good change of pace

When you were a youngster, did your mom or dad ever collar you on a Sunday morning and force you into putting together a jigsaw puzzle as part of a “family activity?” Wasn’t much of a thrill, was it? Jamming all those little pieces together, pounding them with your first while crying futilely, “Fit, damn you, fit!” Yeah, puzzles kind of suck—until you put them on Facebook and wrap them up in a bizarre story about the Great Wall of China being stolen. Once you do that, puzzles are kind of cool.

Puzzle Chasers

Puzzle Chasers follows the adventures of two explorers, Blake and Roxy (plus one monkey named Austin). Both adventurers must work together to stop a man named Forte who has managed to break the Great Wall of China down into puzzle format and steal it for himself. Since Blake left Roxy standing at the altar some years back for an undisclosed reason, the couple isn’t aching to cooperate with each other.

Puzzle Chasers has a pretty goofy story, but since the game never really takes itself too seriously, following along is fun and painless. Anyway, what matters is how the game plays, and the good news is that Puzzle Chasers offers enough of a twist on the Facebook game formula to keep you coming back for more—for as long as you’re allowed, anyway. Like most Facebook games, Puzzle Chasers works on an energy system. You’re allotted a certain amount of energy, and solving puzzles takes a huge bite out of your stores. Your energy recharges by itself, but very slowly.

Puzzle Chasers

Structurally, Puzzle Chasers is quite a bit like a hidden object game (HOG), but instead of scouring HOG scenes for clues, you finish up half-completed jigsaw puzzles. When you click on an empty space you’re given a choice of pieces, and needless to say, only one piece fits the selected spot. If you manage a streak of correct guesses, you earn score multipliers. If you break a streak, your multiplier sets back to zero. The higher your score at the end of a puzzle, the more coins you earn.

When you’ve garnered enough coins, you can use them buy items to decorate your mansion. You can meet specific goals (like, “put two different lamps and a table in the same room”) to earn more coins and experience. If you get tired of following the story in Puzzle Chasers and if making your mansion all pretty doesn’t appeal to you, you can engage in “Puzzle Blitz” mode, which challenges you to put together the remnants of a puzzle as quickly as possible. The puzzle changes every week.

Though it manages its energy stores rather crummily and its puzzle portraits aren’t nearly as pretty to look at as the hide-and-seek scenes in most HOGs, Puzzle Chasers is an interesting take on puzzle games in general, and is a great way to pass a little time.