Here’s what to expect when Ocean Express sets sail next week.
The goal of this downloadable game – which is free to play for 60 minutes – is to perfectly pack cargo on an ocean liner so that all the pieces fit perfectly together. This is done by clicking one of the unique puzzle pieces (that closely resemble the colorful Tetris blocks) and rotating them around until it best fits a spot on the deck.
For example, you may see a spot for an “L” shaped piece on the deck, so you’ll look for the corresponding shape at the bottom of the screen. Clicking the right-mouse button with puzzle piece in hand rotates the cargo so fits snug into this space. If you leave just one small square on the deck, which cannot be filled in, you will be penalized by removing a few points from your overall score.
When you’ve completely filled the deck, or if you’ve packed the cargo in as best as you can, you advance to the next level.
You can also earn tokens for exceeding the suggested score per level, allowing gamers to upgrade their fleet, such as adding more barges to help you finish the level (and lets you achieve a higher score). Playing well also unlocks new coastal cities to visit; 10 cities are included in Ocean Express in total — such as Seattle, Honolulu, Sydney, New York and Tokyo — each one with a unique cargo package and some facts and a photo for that city.
To add to the game’s replayability, all decks are a different shape, and all puzzle pieces roll out at the bottom of the screen in a random order. Not only are new puzzles downloaded automatically to your PC to keep things fresh but players can also try their hand at creating puzzles with the built-in editor and even share them with other Ocean Express gamers (by first submitting them to HipSoft for approval).
Puzzles get increasingly tough once you get to the third or fourth coastal city, but novice or younger players can choose the “casual” game mode instead of the “expert” one with shorter time limits in which to complete the levels.
But if you’re good at the game, however, you can post your high-scores for all to see (and try to beat)!
While puzzle pieces don’t offer the most attractive graphics for a computer game, the realistic water effects underneath the boat offer some nice eye-candy.
Players bored with the three-in-a-row puzzles or Sudoku games will enjoy taking a cruise with Ocean Express. A word of warning: after you play the game for a while you might just see puzzle pieces behind your eyelids when you go to sleep!