Muhammad Ali: Puzzle King
Since Mattias (our 5 year old) is a typical “boy” and it is hard enough to keep him away from toy swords and toy guns and light sabers and all of those typical “boy” things we try and encourage his interests with age appropriate activities, toys and apps. Since flying with his fake weapons is something we discourage (here is how we breeze through airport security) we looked for some digital options for our flight and tried Muhammad Ali: Puzzle King. Available on Poki, this boxing title is actually a puzzle game! He has been drawn to puzzles ever since he was a toddler. From large tiled floor puzzles to popular app store puzzle games on my phone, and now on to 100+ pc puzzles, we rarely leave on a vacation without some sort of puzzle game, whether a physical puzzle or a digital one!
If you (you know you have tried it) or your children, have delved into the Candy Crush / Bejeweled world, you’ll be familiar with the action in Muhammad Ali: Puzzle King. The premise is that of a “Match 3” game, in which players must align three or more identical pieces on the grid. In Puzzle King, you can draw vertical, horizontal, and diagonal lines to connect boxing gloves. There are blue, purple, red, green, and yellow gloves in each puzzle. During training, you might have to connect a certain amount of red or green gloves. During a championship boxing match, if you don’t match the right gloves, you’ll get knocked out. It’s puzzle-solving with consequences.
Muhammad Ali: Puzzle King is designed with kids in mind. The puzzles are filled with bright, friendly graphics. Even the 3D models of boxers are cartoony, opting for playful visuals over gritty realism. As parents, we don’t have to worry about excessive violence or blood (isn’t that refreshing?). The sound effects are also lighthearted and fun. When your kids play the game for longer periods of time, you won’t be annoyed by extremely repetitive music or audio FX.
Regarding difficulty, Muhammad Ali: Puzzle King ranges from very easy to quite hard. A friendly trainer will guide you through the first few rounds. Every now and then, he will appear with helpful tips. The gameplay will pause at certain times, allowing you to read the hint and follow the steps. This is very helpful, because it’s impossible to overlook a new aspect of the game. Even if players skip reading the hint, they still must perform the task to continue. As a parent, this eases the burden off of my shoulders. I don’t really have to learn the ins and outs of the game to explain it to my kids. Instead, I know that the game will do an admirable job teaching new aspects of gameplay.
There are plenty of layers to Muhammad Ali: Puzzle King. Without the trainer’s helpful tips, the rewards and goals system might be confusing. On the surface, it sounds simple: complete goals to earn rewards. In reality, the goals are always changing. After completing a goal (e.g. “Collect 8 diamonds”), a new goal will appear in the same stage. There are three tiers of goals in each level, and 20 total stages in the game. That makes for 60 mini-challenges, in addition to the difficulty of winning boxing matches.
The rewards allow players to upgrade Muhammad Ali’s boxing uniform and skills. There are dozens of gloves, shorts, and boots. These make for a fun dress-up game, in which players can design a matching outfit or totally wacky ensemble. The boxing skill upgrades equate to power-ups that help solve puzzles.
We tried it out on our recent flight with Westjet to Southern California (don’t you just love the in-flight wifi!). But one of the best parts of this game is that you can get it at the App Store and you do not need wifi to play! If your boys are anything like mine and love puzzles, show them Muhammad Ali: Puzzle King. It kept Mattias occupied for almost the whole flight (and my hubby really liked it to. He is a recovering Candy Crush addict haha!)
If you would like some other ideas for what we pack on our flights, you can check out a one of our popular packing posts: Airplane activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers.