Here’s another game that takes the simplicity of the touch and adds so much nuance to it, you’ll be addicted by what you can do with your finger. Jack Lumber is a tracing game, but it’s not as easy as is sounds.

Jack Lumber is a super powered lumber jack. He can hurl an axe into the forest and split all the wood. That’s where you come in. Each board has a different array of logs, and you have to trace the axe’s path through them. You tap the screen to freeze the logs in mid-air, and trace your path. Logs have different shapes, and some different rules like one way only or multiple swipes to cut.

The infinite possibilities of logs and tracing become apparent immediately. First you have to figure out the best way to move your finger through the logs in the allotted time. Then you’ve got to get around unchopped logs without hitting them from the wrong side, voiding them completely. Different shapes and different rules become roadblocks or inspirations along the way. New logs pop up as the game progresses with new rules to complicate the swiping required to pass each level.

Little details you might take for granted -- it matters when you touch the screen. Too soon or too late and the logs will already be halfway off the screen. Also, you’ll find that seeing around your own finger creates the biggest hassle. Avoiding the animals that you’re not supposed to hit can be a challenge in cluttered game boards with little room to navigate.

Despite the crowded screen, the game is pretty forgiving if you have big fingers. You don’t have to be dead center or draw gracefully to score a log. Just be going the right direction and hit all the corners. The toughest logs aren’t the one way or multiple chop ones, they're the ones that keep spinning or curve so much you’ll just lose sight of your path with your own finger in the way.

You can buy powerups from the home screen at Granny’s cabin. There are syrups that slow down the time or beards to add challenges to the game (and give you higher scores.) You can also purchase power ups with real money if you don’t have enough in-game cash.

The animated sequences that tell the story and introduce each level are cute, but totally skippable if you want to just get right to the game. (The story is about Jack avenging his granny who was crushed by a tree.) The graphics are attractive and remain simple to focus on the strategic game play. Sound effects of nature and chopping are a nice touch, but it’s a visual game you could easily play with the sound off.

I’m hooked on Jack Lumber. I want to keep chopping logs to 100% every level. All they need to do is release more levels and create some new logs to throw in the mix.


App Store Link: Jack Lumber for iPhoneiPad | By SEGA | Price: $0.99 | Version: 1.0 | 42.5 MB | Rating 4+

7.5 out of 10 arcade sushi rating