Tangram (1990)

by Christopher
4 minutes read


Tangram: A Timeless Puzzle Classic Reborn on CD-I


Released in 1990 for the Philips CD-I, Tangram is a captivating puzzle game that has stood the test of time. Based on the ancient Chinese dissection puzzle of the same name, Tangram challenges players to arrange seven geometric shapes into a variety of silhouettes. With its simple yet addictive gameplay, beautiful visuals, and soothing soundtrack, Tangram has become a beloved classic among puzzle enthusiasts and retro gamers alike.

Enhanced for CD-I

The CD-I version of Tangram takes the original concept to new heights, offering a more challenging and visually stunning experience. The game features:

  • Expanded Content: Tangram on CD-I boasts a vast collection of puzzles, with over 200 silhouettes to solve. These puzzles range from simple shapes to intricate designs, providing a wide range of challenges for players of all skill levels.
  • Enhanced Visuals: The CD-I’s superior graphics capabilities allow for vibrant colors, detailed textures, and smooth animations. The game’s serene backgrounds and elegant interface create a calming and immersive atmosphere that enhances the puzzle-solving experience.
  • Soothing Soundtrack: Tangram’s soundtrack is a masterpiece of ambient music. Composed by renowned musician Chris Hülsbeck, the gentle melodies and ethereal soundscapes perfectly complement the game’s relaxing and contemplative gameplay.


Gameplay in Tangram is simple yet deeply engaging. Players use the CD-I’s cursor to rotate and move seven geometric shapes (known as “tans”) into the outline of a silhouette. The tans can be flipped, rotated, and arranged in various combinations until the silhouette is complete.

The game offers four difficulty levels: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced, and Expert. Each level introduces more complex silhouettes and requires greater skill and precision to solve. Additionally, Tangram features a “Free Expression” mode, where players can create their own shapes and designs using the tans.

Legacy and Impact

Tangram has had a lasting impact on the puzzle game genre. Its innovative gameplay and elegant design have inspired countless other puzzle games, including Tetris, Puyo Puyo, and Bejeweled. The game’s popularity has also led to numerous adaptations and spin-offs on various platforms, including mobile devices and online gaming services.

Critical Reception

Upon its release, Tangram received critical acclaim for its addictive gameplay, stunning visuals, and innovative use of the CD-I’s capabilities. It was praised for its ability to challenge and entertain players of all ages and skill levels. Reviewers also noted the game’s relaxing atmosphere and its appeal to both puzzle enthusiasts and casual gamers.


Tangram on CD-I is a timeless classic that continues to captivate puzzle enthusiasts and retro gamers alike. With its enhanced content, stunning visuals, and soothing soundtrack, the game offers a unique and rewarding puzzle experience that has stood the test of time. Whether you’re a seasoned puzzle solver or a newcomer to the genre, Tangram is a must-play game that will provide hours of entertainment and mental stimulation.

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