MonkeyOokey Jigsaw Puzzle: When free-to-play games really aren't

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Earlier this week, we brought you a preview of MonkeyOokey Jigsaw Puzzle, Nexon's iPad-only free-to-play jigsaw puzzle game that combines original artwork with images from the company's hottest games: MapleStory, Vindictus, Dungeon Fighter and more. Now that we've had a chance to go hands-on with this colorful game, we're a bit disappointed at how quickly the "free-to-play" experience runs out.

While MonkeyOokey Jigsaw Puzzle has dozens of individual puzzles to complete, you'll only be able to finish four of five before hitting the paywall. Puzzles vary in difficulty by containing different numbers of pieces (anywhere from 20 to 210 pieces per puzzle) and different time limits, and puzzles are then "priced" accordingly to require a specific number of stars before you begin. When you first download the game, you'll be given 100 stars to unlock puzzles for free, but many of the game's branded puzzles require 30 stars to unlock, which just doesn't seem, well, fair.

Stars can be purchased in bulk using real money, with 700 stars being available for $0.99. That's not a terrible price, all things considered, but I would have personally felt more comfortable about spending real money had the initial offering of free content not been so small.

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MonkeyOokey Jigsaw Puzzle on iPad
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As for the puzzles themselves, you'll earn points for each piece you correctly place and can earn combo points for correctly placing pieces in rapid succession. Some puzzles require you to rotate pieces to their proper orientation, which is accomplished via a double-tap on the screen. All of this works well, with basic tap and drag gameplay allowing you to organize puzzle pieces for later use, or to search for just the outside border pieces of a puzzle, if that's how you like to begin.

When you complete your first puzzle, you'll be given a chance to create a username that will show up on the game's leaderboards, allowing you to compare your scores with other players, and you can replay any puzzle you've purchased for free to earn a better score. You can also customize these replay experiences further by altering the number of puzzle pieces, making them easier or more difficult than the default template.

All told, MonkeyOokey Jigsaw Puzzle performs well technically, with bright, colorful graphics and lovely artwork from popular Nexon games. However, you shouldn't go in expecting this to be a truly free-to-play experience, as you'll likely wind up paying at least a buck on the game if you fall in love with the style.

Click here to download MonkeyOokey Jigsaw Puzzle on iPad --->

Have you tried MonkeyOokey Jigsaw Puzzle? What do you think of Nexon's take on the jigsaw puzzle genre? Sound off in the comments!
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