Mystic Runes is available for both a Palm OS device, and for the Sharp Zaurus.
It's cross platform because it's a Java application, and runs on the Zaurus using the Jeode virtual manager. Having
Java available on the device has certainly increased the number of applications that are available.
Mystic Runes is developed by Bangstate, a software developer with offices
in New York and Chicago. They have also written Timelog, a personal time tracker, which I'll be reviewing
shortly. Bangstate don't limit themselves just to commercial software though - they have 3 OpenSource applications
available for download, although they are not for the Zaurus platform.
Installation was a breeze to a CompactFlash card, and the installation placed
an icon in the Jeode tab, as expected. If only most Linux software was as trivial to install, although the Zaurus has a major
advantage in this area as (almost) everyone has the same version of the Embedix kernel, with the same libraries.
Starting up the game, you are presented with 12 cards with strange symbols. But after
reading the documentation you discover they are in fact "rune stones". This is a puzzle game for the Zaurus, where the goal is to score as many points as possible by
matching these rune stones, in accordance with some fairly complicated rules. The cards are placed in the three
empty card slots at the bottom of the screen.
It's essential to read the documentation (a PDF file) before starting the game. The
rules of what constitutes a valid match are not trivial to learn, although with a little bit of practice they aren't
that difficult. Each time you correctly match 3 rune stones you score between 5-10 points, depending on how quickly you
find the match. But each incorrect match costs you points, and it wasn't long before I was in negative points on my first
game. What makes this puzzle even more mindblowing is there may not even be a valid match, in which case you need to
request a new deal. Requesting a new deal when there is a valid match among the 12 stones costs you points, as does asking
for help from the program itself.
The game is further complicated when "Loki the Shapeshifter" appears on one of the stones.
This stone forms a match of two other stones of the same color regardless of the rune, rows or columns.
Mystic Runes is an addictive game. It doesn't have nor need good graphics. The game
revolves around challenging you to think! I liked the statistics page which shows how many matches you've made, bad matches,
number of times help used, as well as your quickest and average match. To date, my quickest match is a not terribly impressive 8
If you like puzzle games, you should definitely give this game a try. It wasn't long before the
puzzle games that come with the Zaurus had lost their fun. Mystic Runes is a worthy addition.