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Shenkuu Tangram: Untangling the Tangram


by justlilly

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GAMES ROOM - The natives from Shenkuu are revealing a new spectacle to Neopians all around the world. While they have been reclusive for most of Neopia's history, they are now delighting us time and time again with their cultural creations. They have presented us with a new game, astonishing us all with their puzzle-making skills: Shenkuu Tangram.

But what are all these shapes for? How do you play? What is a tangram, even? How do you score high enough to have a chance at getting a trophy? Fear not, noble Neopians, I am here to help. Although the game may look difficult at first glance, solving a tangram is actually quite simple.

Traditionally, a tangram puzzle consists of seven shapes that you must fit into a silhouette shape without the pieces overlapping. There are generally five right triangles: two large, one medium, and two small, a square, and a parallelogram to be fit in. In Shenkuu Tangram, it is easier to distinguish between the shapes, since they all have their identifying colors. The large triangles are red and purple, the medium triangle is yellow, the small triangles are orange and green, the square is dark blue, and the parallelogram is light blue.

Controls

To move and drop your pieces into the puzzle, use the mouse. Try to be as exact as possible with your positioning, so the game recognizes that you are placing the piece in the correct space.

To rotate the pieces, use either the left and right arrow keys or hit the spacebar. Personally, I prefer the spacebar, as it is more consistent since it always moves in the same direction. However, you might find the arrow keys faster once you practice with them.

The parallelogram might sometimes need to be flipped in order to put it in to place. Hit the up arrow key to flip the parallelogram. In contrast, press the down arrow key to return it to its original position.

Modes

Shenkuu Tangram offers players three different modes to choose from, including Zen, Normal, and Hard.

Zen - This mode allows you to put together puzzles at your own pace. It is a good mode for practicing and learning how to complete the puzzles; however, you can't earn Neopoints or send your score when playing in Zen Mode.

Normal - This mode allows you to build the shape one piece at a time. If you are unsure where a piece goes when you have it selected, you can place it in the bottom-left tangram until you get it figured out. Try to be as quick as possible on this mode, as you are being timed!

Hard - In this mode, pieces fall on the left panel and you must immediately place them correctly in the puzzle. You must be fast, since more pieces will fall. In addition, you are only given four mistakes before it's game over. I only suggest playing this mode if you like the added challenge, since it doesn't give as many points as normal mode overall.

Tips and Strategy

1. If you are going for a high score or a trophy, play on Normal Mode. It gives a time bonus, unlike Hard Mode, so many more points are possible. The remaining tips will also be for Normal Mode, since that is the recommended mode you play on, in my opinion.

2. Practice each level until you are comfortable and remember where each shape goes on the tangram. Having the levels memorized will make your score skyrocket, due to the time bonus.

3. Plan ahead. Know where you are going to place a piece as you are going to pick it up. After you have picked it up, rotate it rapidly while you move it to its final destination.

4. When getting ready to set a piece down on the puzzle, make sure you are on as exact a location as you can possibly get. The board is sensitive when it comes to whether you placed it correctly or not, so it's better to be safe. You don't want to spend a lot of time fumbling around with a piece, since it will drastically affect your time bonus!

5. If you aren't sure immediately where a piece should go, such as a time when your memory fails you, place it on the tangram and try the next piece. Sometimes, by placing other pieces on the board, your memory is revived and you are able to complete the puzzle with minimum time bonus loss.

6. From my experimentation, screen size and resolution does not seem to have much of an impact on scoring. Therefore, you should use whichever mode and resolution you feel most comfortable with.

7. Keep distractions to a minimum. As in all memory and puzzle games, it is important to stay calm and attentive. Therefore, I suggest keeping all music and sounds, and noisy children and telephones away as much as possible. Though it is a relatively quick game and mistakes will not cost you eons of time, you might be having a trophy-worthy game when -- BAM, the doorbell or telephone rings, cutting your concentration and causing you to lose the game.

8. There are also three hints available by clicking the "Hint" button on the left panel of the screen. Upon clicking this button, a thin white division line will appear on the silhouette where a division of pieces will be. Oftentimes it will shape out an entire piece for you, so if you are having trouble, I definitely recommend asking for a hint.

9. Remember that Shenkuu Tangram is, in fact, a game, so you should enjoy yourself!

Overall, these puzzles are meant to be challenging but not impossible, so players of all ages can likely complete at least a few of them. Remember: the most efficient way of improving your score in a game is PRACTICE. With enough practice, you could possibly even get a trophy in this exciting new game! :) I know that's what I'm going for!

Signing out, from Shenkuu, after news of this puzzling yet exciting new game.

 
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