Japanese Women – Animated Jigsaws is a puzzle game for PC. You put together virtual jigsaw puzzles using the mouse to click and drag pieces into place. All of the puzzles use animated images that continue to animate on each individual piece throughout. When a piece is put into the correct spot, or closely enough, on the play area it will snap into place and no longer be movable. You can freely move pieces onto or off of the board. You can connect any number of adjacent pieces freely in the play area as well, but once connected they cannot be disconnected or removed from the area, though you can still move them around within the confines of said space. There’s an area to the right of the play area which can be used for holding individual pieces for later. The rest of the unplaced and unsaved pieces remain in a jumble above the puzzle area. Pieces in the holding and saving areas cannot be connected. To the left of and below these areas are some options. There are three different background colors of the puzzle area to toggle between freely. There’s a sample button that will show you the full-sized animated image. There’s a sort/scramble button that affects all pieces not in the puzzle or holding areas. Sorting will make a pile for the remaining edge pieces and another separate pile for the remaining inside pieces. Hitting scramble will randomly disperse these remaining pieces throughout the top area. There’s a timer showing how much time has passed for the current puzzle. The options button allows you to toggle music and sounds on and off, select which background music you’d like to hear, as well as change between fullscreen and windowed mode. You can quit or select a different stage at any point and your current progress will be saved until you return, finish, or restart that puzzle.
There are 10 different pictures, each with a 60 piece, 240 piece, and 350 piece variant for a total of 30 puzzles to complete. There is an achievement for each one, for completing every puzzle in a particular size, and for completing the entire game. The first three puzzles in the first column must be completed on 60 pieces in order to unlock the ones to the right of them respectively. This also unlocks the 240 piece variant of the first column as well. The second column must be completed at 240 to unlock the corresponding puzzles in the column to its right while also unlocking their own 350 piece variants. The three third column puzzles are only available in 350 pieces and completing these three unlocks the final puzzle, which also is only available to play with 350 pieces. After completing the final puzzle you’ll unlock all size variants for all puzzles. Once you’ve completed a puzzle in a given size then that size will show a check mark next to it upon selection to indicate which ones you have and have not completed. Completing all puzzles on all variants will net you all achievements and thus you will have then completed the game.
I’d like to give this one some credit where credit is due. Using animated images actually utilizes the video game medium better than virtually putting together static images that could be better enjoyed in the physical realm. The movement also creates an interesting bit of contextual clues that help you place pieces with repeating patterns more easily based on matching their motion. At the same time, it creates some extra challenge as you might need to consider what the piece will look like through the entire animation loop rather than just the one isolated time you glance at it. The ability to snap into place is not so forgiving that you can effectively flail around, but it’s a nice fail-safe with a noticeable click upon snapping into place that makes it serves its purpose without turning the placement into a joke. The ability to connect pieces within the area and move the connect bunch around is very handy, as is the side area for storing random oddities for whatever reason you may have. The sort and scramble button is a great time-saver for finding all the edge pieces right away. It just takes away the headache of picking all of them out. And I found that double tapping it later to help mix up the pieces to give my eyes a fresh look or uncover some previously buried ones was really handy too. Being able to change the background color was somewhat helpful at times to help the blank spots pop. The music in the background was a nice touch, if a bit limited. And the women are beautiful! N… not that I noticed… heh. Hey, at least they are classy beautiful rather than being fapbait. Not that you CAN’T fap to them but… I think they were going for more of a cultural vibe than a sexy one.
Though some of the women aren’t even showing their faces, which was a huge bummer considering the low number of puzzles. I would’ve also preferred just having more unique images and limiting their piece count to a single size in a gradually rising difficulty or even just the base 10 with their primary piece count instead of rehashing the same ones three times each. It just felt more like padding than actual substantial content. The motion also was frustrating at times when I just wanted to gauge where a piece could go yet I was forced to wait through the whole animation loop for each potential spot. It got tedious at times for sure. There’s a custom cursor which is a big hand you can’t toggle off so once you pick up a piece you can’t see half of the damn thing because of that. It probably should’ve just gone invisible as soon as you clicked on a piece to keep this from being an issue. It’s also a little frustrating that pieces cannot be connected in the holding area nor can you even disconnect them to get them out of your way in the puzzle area if you aren’t sure where they go yet. The background choices left something to be desired. They are all the same pattern, just with slight color changes. The changes are SO slight that sometimes they don’t even help! But maybe that’s just me on that one. While the music is nice, it’s a bit on the loud side even with my volume at minimum. That could use a slider in the options. Oh, and I forgot to mention that there IS a gallery, but it’s only for completed puzzles, which is kind of pointless since you can just start any one of them and hit the sample button to see the picture whenever you want. Why not just have all the puzzles and size variants available from the start, anyway? And the achievements are so bland that they really aren’t worth bothering. There’s no real reward for completion other than the virtual pat on the back of those achievements, but at least it’s an easy enough one for achievement hunters I guess.
So Japanese Women – Animated Jigsaws is a decent puzzle game that uses its medium well enough to enhance the genre while also delivering on the title. As far as recommendations, get it if you like jigsaw puzzles, don’t mind putting them together virtually, and want to experience trying to piece together a GIF moving in front of you the whole time. Also if you like gawking at Japanese women… which I personally do. However, I can’t recommend it for the full 10 bucks. I got it on impulse curiosity during a sale for a dollar. It’s worth maybe… at most, 3 dollars. I think paying too much more is just asking to be disappointed or simply being too impatient for a sale. It’s nothing amazing, but it’s solid for the virtual jigsaw subgenre of puzzle games. Full disclosure: I did not fap during my play sessions with this game. Yet I STILL thought it was decent. So… ya know. That’s saying something.