Jigsaw Planet has thousands of free jigsaw puzzles created by users. It's not necessary to open an account to play these free games, but there are advantages if you register, such as being able to save partially solved games to finish at a later date or the ability to sort puzzles into different albums which will help you organize your favorites.
You won't be asked to download any special programs or plug-ins to play the puzzles at Jigsaw Planet.
All you need is a Java-enabled browser (most are) and some free time.
How to Play the Jigsaw Game
All the jigsaw puzzles have the same dimensions regardless of the number of pieces. Therefore, the fewer the pieces, the larger they are and vice versa.
The puzzle pieces are three-dimensional, easy to see and interlock nicely with an audible cue (a soft click) when they come together. It would be nice to also have a visual cue, especially for the hearing-impaired or if you are listening to music or just happen to have the sound turned off.
You need to be quite precise when positioning the pieces in relation to one another to have them connect -- more so than on some other jigsaw puzzle sites. However, matched pieces will interlock no matter where they are on the playing surface. This is opposed to some sites where a piece must be directly over its precise position on the "table" before it will connect.
The program offers some playing options that are on the task bar below the work space.
- The first icon on the left opens a picture of the puzzle you're solving.
- The ghost icon next to it overlays a full-sized, semi-transparent picture on the work space upon which you can match up the puzzle pieces. This is extremely helpful, especially when doing puzzles with pieces that need to be rotated.
- The gear icon opens a menu to change the background color, re-scatter the puzzle pieces (start over) and the Help window.
- In the center are a progress indicator (percentage) and a timer for hours and minutes. (Note: Even though the timer does not display seconds when you complete a puzzle, a pop-up screen will display the time taken in hours, minutes and seconds.)
- The X on the far right closes the puzzle window and returns you to Jigsaw Planet.
Handy Jigsaw Tip
At some point, you may find yourself trying to move multiple pieces aside for more work space and it can be tedious moving one piece at a time. There is a way to move pieces as a group. Place your cursor just above and to the left of the pieces you want to move. Then hold down the left mouse button and move the mouse diagonally down and to the right until the cursor is just below the group. You should see a rectangular outline. Release the mouse button, and the pieces wholly or partially inside the rectangle are corralled and turn red. Place your cursor over any one of these red pieces, then press and hold the left mouse button and drag the pieces to another area of your work space. If you wish to add or remove a piece from the group, hold down the Ctrl key and click on the piece with the left mouse button.
To maximize your work space, press F11 on your keyboard to go to full screen. When finished, press F11 to return to normal screen.
Unfortunately, there is no feature to zoom in/out so puzzle pieces can get lost under the partially pieced-together sections of the puzzle or under other pieces. It would be helpful to have a rescue option to bring these pieces to the fore.
Make and Share Your Own Jigsaw Puzzles
Create an account at Jigsaw Planet and have fun making your own jigsaw puzzles. It's really easy. To learn how, here's a step-by-step tutorial that shows you How to Make Your Own Jigsaw Planet Puzzles.
All the puzzles at Jigsaw Planet are user-made. There doesn't appear to be any people doing quality control, so much of what you'll find is so-so. Also, the creator of the puzzle controls the piece cut, the number of pieces and rotation.
It's frustrating to finally see a puzzle that you'd like to solve only to find that you don't like the piece cut or that there are too many small pieces that need to be rotated.