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Jigsaws Galore
by Design Associates
reviewed by Angelo Parra

CAUTION: This software can be addictive and hazardous to your schedule.

JIGSAWS GALORE 4.0, award-winning software that lets you do (and create) jigsaw puzzles on your computer monitor, is, in a word, FUN.

Using images provided or using images you can easily import, you can create and solve jigsaw puzzles with from four to 4,000 fully rotatable 3D pieces on your desktop. It's a hoot putting together puzzles of your favorite images and family photos! And, on top of that, you can please and vex your friends by e-mailing them puzzles.

If you don't make your own puzzles, you can create puzzles using a selection of images provided, like a photo of a chimpanzee. And it's educational! The image of the chimp, for example, is accompanied by the following information: Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes), commonly called chimps, inhabit tropical central African rain forests, and are the most intelligent and easily educated of the apes.
Their DNA is largely identical to that of man, and has caused much debate on whether various human rights should be extended to them. (I say give them the vote; they can't do much worse than we do.)

Jigsaws Galore lets you: choose one of the scores of images provided or easily import your own images onto the puzzle screen; choose the number of pieces you want and the degree of "oddness" of the pieces; solve and save the puzzle.
Once you've made the basic choices, the puzzle screen opens with pieces laid out at random (some overlapping) over a faint image of the photo. The faintness of the image can be controlled, or, to make things harder, hit the "ghost picture" button on the top toolbar and the image disappears, leaving you on your own with the pieces. The pieces are laid out right side up, but can be rotated to make the puzzle more challenging. The software offers a tray into which you can drag and drop pieces to get them out of your way. Multiple trays can be opened to sort pieces as you wish. The screen is reasonably intuitive for folks with experience navigating Windows programs. (The review CD had no manual, but the program has full-featured help.)

To work on the puzzle, you simply drag and drop a piece into position. When a piece is put in correctly, you get a satisfying plop sound; when a piece is put in the wrong position, silence. (The plop can be turned off to make the solving more realistic.) As you work, music, which can be turned off, plays in the background.

One downside for puzzle lovers: you can only work on a space as big as your screen, obviously, and so the clarity of the puzzle depends on both your eyesight and the sharpness of your screen image.

Completing the puzzle earns you a round of applause. The program tells you how long it took you to solve it (which can be very humbling), and tells you how many times you "cheated." I was informed I cheated 3 times. Somewhat insulted, I turned to the help menu, which told me that shifting the pieces from random to right way up, clicking on the "hint" button on the toolbar, and using other aids qualified as cheating.

After you complete the puzzle, the program fills the screen with the image. Right click on the image to clear it, and you're given the option of saving the puzzle.

One really cool feature of the software is that you can e-mail a puzzle you create. This "gift jigsaw" is a self-contained, mini-Jigsaws Galore puzzle.exe program that allows the recipient to do and save the puzzle you created.

Jigsaws Galore comes as a download with 10 puzzles for $25 or in CD version with 192 puzzles for $39. From the CD, you can install the program only (requiring the CD to work) or you can install the program and the puzzles both, for use without the CD. Installation automatically puts a Jigsaws Galore icon on your desktop and provides an uninstall option.

Since my disk space is dwindling, I had intended to uninstall Jigsaws Galore immediately after I reviewed it. Not gonna happen.

Jigsaws Galore 4.0
Full Version $39
System Requirements:
Pentium processor
Windows 95/98/ME/NT/2000
32 MB of RAM
4 MB of free hard disk space
High Color or True Color Windows Setting
Mouse, sound Card

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