Quite a few people were surprised by my description of Adrift as a “new game” – even though it was very new at the time – because they had seen similar games or puzzles before.
You can read some of the history on Wikipedia: similar puzzles were posed as early as the 19th century, and more recently Big Duck Games released a nice version called Flow Free for Android and iOS.
This game was the subject of a programming competition at Oxford University last year. The competition was won by Thomas Ahle, with this rather nice program.
Adrift puzzles are a little bit different, though: they’re on an unusual grid – the surface of half a cube, i.e. three square grids connected at the edges – and also there are rocks, squares you’re not allowed to use.
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