Toy Corner

Katamino Puzzle Game Review

Apr 04, 2024

katamino board game box

If you're a sucker for those knotty puzzles that have you squinting at the board for hours on end, then oh boy, Katamino is your ticket to the funny farm! This geometric puzzle game – think of it as the wild love child of last year's MazeScape puzzles and a Rubik’s Cube - serves up an intoxicating cocktail of ‘what-the-heck-is-going-on’ fun and 'if-I-don't-solve-this-I'll-go-mad' strategy.

Overview of Katamino

This brain training puzzle provides players with 12 pentominos, pieces that you strategically manoeuvre to fill specific areas of the board. In my experience with the game, the pentominos require some strategic thinking and quick problem-solving skills, making Katamino not just entertaining but also a tool for developing cognitive abilities. Those who've played some of the older game versions may notice that there's been an increment in pentomino count. The original games offered only 10 pieces, pointing to how Katamino has evolved to provide an enhanced puzzle experience.

What impresses me is that, beyond its puzzle attributes, Katamino offers a gaming facet. This consists of a single game known among pentomino enthusiasts as Golomb's Game. The gameplay requires players to select a pentomino and align it on the board in such a way that the piece's parts correspond with the grid lines, while also conforming to the playing area boundary. The game ends when a player finds themselves unable to legally place a piece on the board. Despite its simplicity, I found Golomb's game to be an engaging addition to the puzzle rounds in Katamino.

This unique puzzle paradigm swiftly draws you in as you navigate through the mental maze that the pentominos construct.

The cherry on top of these already enticing features is the portability of Katamino Pocket, a compact version of the game perfect for taking your puzzle-solving journey on the go. So, whether you're seasoned at solving puzzles or casually on the lookout for an enjoyable game to flex your cognition, I reckon Katamino might have something exciting in store for you. As we continue unveiling the many facets of this gripping game, stay tuned for an even more detailed analysis.

Game Components

Diving into the core elements of Katamino, let's break down its intricately designed components. It's all about the tiles and the board, making up this captivating solitaire game.

When playing Katamino, I've found that the star attraction is undoubtedly the brightly painted pentomino tiles. Each piece, chunky and colourful, delivers an eye-catching aesthetic, enhancing the overall gaming experience.

These tiles, mind you, aren't your average board game pieces. Known as pentominos - a blend of five identical squares, stand out dramatically in the game dynamic.

Hence, in Katamino, the joy of puzzle-solving hinges on how you tactically manoeuvre these 12 pentominos to perfectly fill dedicated areas on the board.

katamino puzzle pieces

Shifting the focus to the other critical component of Katamino, It's impossible not to appreciate the cleverly constructed board. Equipped with a versatile design, it truly intensifies the puzzle-solving anticipation.

Katamino is a simple yet challenging puzzle game with an adjustable wooden grid, allowing players to modify the complexity to suit their cognitive abilities. The game features numbers 3-12 along the top and bottom with slots for wooden dividers that can shrink or extend the playing space. The components of Katamino not only serve as game elements but enrich the entire puzzle-solving journey, providing an entertaining experience while challenging problem-solving skills.

Katamino stands out among solitaire games for its clever fusion of strategy and puzzle-solving. Each player is manoeuvring each pentamino into place with precision. Katamino certainly delivers regardless of whether you are playing on your own or playing with someone else. 

Gameplay Review of Katamino

Katamino's solo play is a rewarding yet challenging experience that involves positioning pentominoes, mathematically derived shapes introduced by Henry Dudeney in 1907 and named by Simon Golomb in the 1960s, to fill specific areas on the board. The thrill of this game mode lies not just in achieving the goal but also in navigating through each level of complexity and experiencing satisfaction and exhilaration upon completing each challenge. Players often find themselves absorbed in the game, eager to master its logic with their puzzle-solving skills.

Taking it beyond the single-player mode, Katamino's multiplayer mode offers a chance for friendly competition. Here, the strategic manoeuvring of the colourful wooden polyominoes into given areas of the board evolves into a battle of wits. An additional layer of complexity is introduced with the coloured game cards.

Different levels of ability can be catered when playing Katamino. There's room for intense rivalry and cooperative play, thanks to the nine double-coloured cards designed explicitly for competition between players with varying skills.

Final Thoughts on Katamino

Puzzle games seem to be coming back into the limelight and I believe Katamino is a great addition to add to your collection. The puzzle pieces are very well crafted and the bright colours will attract the younger kids to be interested in playing this game. I believe that puzzles are excellent to help develop and challenge your problem-solving skills. With games lasting around 15 minutes, it is an excellent game to fill your time without having you lose your concentration. So, if you're up for a challenge, Katamino won't disappoint.