Galder 1.0, by Fastforward
Posted: 9-Aug-2008

4 out of 5 Mice

Vendor: Fastforward Type: SHAREWARE

Reviewer: Jim Montgomery Class: GAMES
     
$19.95   Download

Overview
Puzzle "board game" intended as a pleasant diversion which could be used by gamers age 5 and up brought to you by fastforward software which currently offers six other products. This one stands out for its puzzle concept. The primary interface to the gem filled concentric rings is the mouse, which is sufficient in and of itself. The object is to clear the board with as many maximum “cuts” as possible. Scoring is based on removing as many gems as possible (to be exact the number of stones removed, squared; multiplied by the number of rings and columns used.) The challenge is to look forward to set up high scoring moves.

Requirements

  • Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later
  • 23.3 MB of disk storage


My test system was an iMac 2 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo with 2 GB 667 MGz DDR2 SDRAM.

Setup
Installation was typical of Mac software, easy and straightforward. You download the .dmg file off their website, and after the .dmg mounts, you drag Galder to your Applications folder. The manual can also be downloaded. It is simply called "Manual", so I renamed it to "Galder Manual" to make it easier to find. Without purchasing, you are limited to 60 minutes of use, and will have to go through the register dialog at each startup. If you purchase a license and enter the code, the dialog goes away, and you gain unlimited use.

In Use
The primary interface to the gem filled concentric rings is the mouse, which is sufficient in and of itself. The object is to clear the board as quickly as possible. Scoring is based on removing as many gems as possible (to be exact, the number of stones removed, squared; multiplied by the number of rings and columns used). The object being to arrange gems of the same color to be adjacent so that in one move the number cut is as large as possible. Since your score goes up as the square of the number cut and multiplied by the number of rings and columns used, one rotates the concentric rings to place like stones adjacent. A simple mouse click initiates the cut, which is accompanied by a sound effect similar to glass breaking. When a cut is made, the gems from the outer rings drop “down” to fill in for the cut gems on the inner rings. One can score as little as four points for removing two gems or hundreds of thousands for a truly complex cut.

While the interface is not entirely intuitive (reading the rules is needed), once you understand the rules, all is clear. This is one of those mind-numbing, stress relieving, hour passing diversions complete with pleasant music, slick graphics and a non-trivial challenge. The game also allows undo without penalty, permitting one to take advantage of later insights. There is also a timer, although there are no time bonuses, penalties or limits.

Here is an example near the start of a game, where all the glowing gems can be cleared. One can rotate each ring to align for maximum points.


Galder - Grid Filled


Here is an example later in the game.


Galder - Near Completion



If you clear the board, you are awarded a 50% bonus. Given the extreme bonus for high numbered cuts, one strategy is to start by rotating rings and making cuts to arrange a setup with maximum adjacent, same-colored gems. Another strategy is to take each turn and rotate rings to maximize the opportunity for this turn. Regardless, as the number of remaining gems decreases, one needs to look forward to the end game so that one can clear the board and receive the 50% bonus.

The brief user's manual answered all my basic questions, but even better the game has online hints which guide the new player. There are options for head-to-head network play as well as posting your scores to a master (world-wide) scoreboard.

Summary
Galder is a pleasant puzzle board game with sharp graphics, engaging sound effects, a musical background and an interesting concept where you clear the board of concentric rings of gems by lining up as many as possible. The clearing sound effect may remind you of other games. This one seems rock solid and while reading the manual is recommended for understanding the strategy, the interface is simple to use. The strategy required is fully engaging making Galder a fun diversion for all ages.

Pros

  • A pleasant distraction
  • Nice background music
  • A moderate challenge
  • Straight-forward user interface
  • Nice graphics
  • Offers a range of challenges


Cons

  • First glance impression may make the game feel trivial
  • The timer is not used in scoring


Overall Rating

4 out of 5 Mice