I came across Joining Hands when browsing through the "Great apps for the new iPad" section of the App Store because I was hoping to find some great apps that support the new iPad's Retina display. I'm happy I decided to download this little game. It's a cute and fun puzzle game that's both easy to understand and to play.
The story behind the game is that the little creatures, called Peablins, that you encounter in the Whispering Woods need your help grouping them up so that they're all holding hands. You see, they believe that the only way the Boogyman won't take you is if you're holding hands with a friend.
So that's your goal, make sure every hand of every Peablin is joined with the hand of another Peablin. There are different types of Peablins, though. For example, the common Peablin can have anywhere from 1 to 3 hands and just needs to be in a hexagon next to another Peablin to join hands -- the hands will automatically move the correct position. The Brufflin has two inflexible hands, but can be rotated by tapping. The Gooblin doesn't have hands, only tentacles, and can only be joined by other Gooblins. There's three other types of Peablins that I haven't discovered yet.
When the Peablins don't have all their hands joined, they looks sad and scared. When all their hands are paired up with another Peablin, they light up and get happy. It's actually pretty cute.
In addition to the goal of joining all the Peablins' hands, each level has one or more stars placed somewhere on the hexagonal board giving you the additional challenge of placing one of your Peablins on the hexagon with a star. Sometimes you may also find several hearts on a cell. This is called a "Comfort Zone" and any Peablin placed in a Comfort Zone will be happy and unafraid of the Boogyman even if all of his hands aren't joined with other Peablins.
I've found Joining Hands to be a very relaxing game. It's definitely a puzzle game, but not a super challenging one. For a child, though, it could be very challenging. The levels do get more difficult as you progress and are introduced to new Peablins.
Joining Hands is a great casual puzzle game that is more relaxing than it is challenging. I think older kids will find it to be acceptably challenging, though, making it a great game to add to the family iPad.