Released in 2008 as the debut title by TrueThought LLC, Everyday Genius: SquareLogic is a math puzzle game. If there were a more perfect genre for this article I don’t know what it would be. This title has absolutely no business being fun.
The goal is to fill every square on the board with a number. Similar to sudoku, each row and column can only have one copy of each number available. However, where it differs is that instead of simply assuring one of each per row, each square is in a highlighted section with an additional rule assigned to that section.
For example: in the header image, the first two squares in the first row are colored blue, and in the very top left in bold it says 6+. That means the numbers in those two squares must add up to 6. The game starts you off with simple addition, but as the puzzles wear on you begin to implement multiplication, division, and consecutively (think poker straights, 3-4-5-6-7) just to name a few rules. The number of squares to fill increases as well the deeper you go, which increases the number of numbers you have to choose from as well. Eventually you’ll be solving multiple 9×9 boards per puzzle.
So with that brief explanation of the game, why is math fun?
- Achievements. If they’re your thing you’re in luck, as the game has them.
- Multiple levels. The game comes with five “worlds” with different color schemes and backgrounds, making what could easily be a monotonous visual a bit more colorful and interesting to look at for extended periods. Each world is filled with various “regions”, with their own puzzles assigned to each.
- Increasing complexity. The farther in you go, the more square challenge options you have, and the more numbers you need to fill those options.
- Optional complexity. You can just stick to the Easy puzzles if you like and still have an extremely large number to work with; this isn’t the type of game that gives you 10 easy puzzles to get you started and then dumps you headfirst, expecting you to have mastered the concepts and be capable of complex puzzles early on.
- No time limit. You can work at your own pace, taking as long as you want for each puzzle. Your only “score” per puzzle is the number of selections it took you to fully answer the puzzle (marked as “Steps”). Each puzzle comes with a par score, the number of steps it’s expected to take the average player to complete the puzzle. There’s no real reward beyond the feeling of accomplishment for completing a puzzle under par, but there’s no penalty or feeling of shame from completing one over par either. It’s just there as a gauge for you to see how you’re coming along, and as you complete puzzles you’ll find your score becoming more and more consistently below par as you gain proficiency in mentally calculating the solutions without having to commit to a number & see how it works out.
- Pick up & play, or settle in & stay. The vast variety of puzzle complexities and the ease of switching between them means you could boot this up to play a couple quick easy puzzles before bed, or you could settle in for an afternoon of difficult puzzle solving. This would actually make a great mobile game if not for the interface being a bit cumbersome for the smaller phone screens, but the fact that it’s five years old doesn’t bode well for that coming to fruition.
Why is Everyday Genius: SquareLogic fun? It’s as challenging as you want it to be, and takes as long as you need it to. Until you devote a few dozen hours into the easy puzzles, you’re never more than a minute or so away from a solution & moving on to the next puzzle. There are quite a few in-game mechanisms that make the game easier if you choose to enable them, and they’re just as easy to turn off and/or ignore if you want an added challenge. The math never gets more complicated than elementary school levels, so you don’t need a degree in math to complete any of the puzzles. It’s accessible to anyone, enjoyable by everyone and I never really felt like I was “learning” in the process; just using what I already knew to solve a puzzle one step at a time. Being able to choose between blowing through a dozen small 4×4 boards or a couple big 9x9s is also pretty nice, as sometimes I just want to grind and make a lot of progress and sometimes I want a more time-consuming challenge, and SquareLogic allows me to seamlessly select either, or switch between the two at my own discretion.
For whatever reason, the game was pulled from Steam so it is no longer available there. It’s still for sale via MumboJumbo, who I have no experience with whatsoever. The purchase page is listed below, for reference. I own the version that was on Steam before it was pulled, and I paid $2 for it during one of Steam’s ridiculous summer sales. It’s normally $20, and while that seems steep when you consider that buys you well over 20,000 puzzles…that’s not much to pay at all if this game is up your alley.