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Games Are More Than Fun – This Is What Flow Free Can Teach You

Tina Sieber 12-02-2014

Is life a game? Arguably not, but since games often resemble everyday life in many different ways, plenty of life lessons 6 Life Lessons You Can Learn From Gaming There are plenty of life lessons to be learned from games, and these lessons can make you a better person in the end. Read More can be deducted from them. A simple and fun puzzle game called Flow Free Flow Free - A Game That Gets The Brain Juices Flowing [iOS] Games are designed to be fun. No matter what other motivations you have when you sit down and play a game, the number one motivator is always going to be having fun. Of course, while... Read More can teach you a thing or two about problem solving, cooperation, and strategy.


Flow Free is available as an HTML5 web app, as well as on Android, iOS, Windows Phone 8, and for Windows 8.1. Flow Free is also one of our best Android and iPhone games.

About Flow Free

Briefly, your challenge is to connect all the dots on the grid, without leaving any spot empty. You can only connect dots of the same color to create a flow between them. The total number of flows equals the minimum amount of moves necessary to complete the level in a perfect manner. As the game passes through levels, the grid becomes larger, and you are faced with more and more dots, making it increasingly difficult to solve the puzzles.

In an advanced version of Flow Free Flow Free: Bridges Is 930 Levels of Brain-Twisting Fun For Free I have always maintained that the games you will end up going back to again and again are the simplest ones. Read More , bridges allow the dot-connecting pipes to cross each other.

Life Lessons Extracted From Gaming

Generally, simple games as this are enjoyed by people of any age, which brings home the point that you’re never too old to play. That’s because you are never too old to learn something new. The life lesson hidden in these simple insights is:

You are never too old to start or learn something new.

This brings us through to the next point. You don’t need anyone’s permission to play a game. The same is true in life. Sometimes, you just have to follow your impulse.


Just try!

Flow Free starts with an easy 5×5 grid and 5 flows, i.e. 5 pairs of dots you need to connect. Compare that to the complex 9×9 grid with 9 flows.

Flow Free Levels

In a game, you’d never ever think of starting with the most difficult level, that would not be fun. The whole design encourages you to start from level 1 and often makes it impossible to jump ahead. Yet in life, we try to get ahead of ourselves all the time, which can be very frustrating. Game designers understand it’s necessary to keep the player engaged, meaning they must maintain the delicate balance between challenge and frustration.

We should approach life in the same way. To avoid getting overwhelmed in life…


Start from the beginning, study basic principles, learn as you go, and build your skills gradually.

Flow Free can teach you a little about strategy and problem solving. Once you get started, you’ll want to begin with an obvious connection. This will make subsequent steps much clearer.

Flow Free Low Hanging Fruits

In other words…

Start with the low-hanging fruit!

The best games don’t require much explanation. In life, we often have the opportunity to receive detailed instructions and advice from others. And when you’re starting at a level way above your skills, that might be necessary, or at least will speed things up. Games, on the other hand, teach us to experiment and learn from mistakes.


Trial and error can help you develop your skills and see clearer.

What often holds us back in real life, doesn’t seem to be a problem when playing games: the fear of failure 5 Study Skills Every Online Student Needs to Have for Beating Failure It's not the content, the professors, or the assignments by any means. Actually, it's the format. With online courses, everything relies on you. There's no schedule to follow, no classes to sit through, no professors... Read More . In games, making mistakes is OK. You can start over, try again, and failing might actually help you understand the game a little better.

Let’s take the Flow Free situation depicted below. I had actually connected all the dots, but I had 18% of pipe left, meaning the puzzle was incomplete (left). This taught me that I must use the entire space while connecting dots. So I re-arranged several of the flows to solve the puzzle (right).

Flow Free Mistakes

In games, you can easily make mistakes and fix them. In life, mistakes are not always easy to fix, but you can’t entirely avoid them either.


Embrace mistakes because they can teach you valuable lessons.

One of the key lessons of Flow Free is that the shortest path isn’t always the one that leads to success.

When you are taking a shortcut, you are missing the point!

That’s because all of the dots must be connected and all of the space must be used. To respect these rules and complete the puzzle, you must often take a detour. That’s what makes the game challenging and fun, and the same is true for life.

The journey is the reward!

To finish the game successfully, you have to take all positions into account. Let’s look at the example below. You could easily take a shortcut to connect the green dots and get it over with (left). But then the orange dots would be blocked from connecting. To keep their path open and complete the game, the green pipe has to be dragged around the orange and pink dots in a huge detour (right).

Flow Free Detours

This insight can be applied to team work. You might cause your team to fail if you focus too much on reaching your own goals, while accidentally preventing other members of the team from reaching their goals. Instead…

Find out what your team and each individual member need to succeed, then help everyone understand what compromises are necessary, for the entire team to succeed.

Once everything is in sync, success will come easily.

Flow Free Animated

And Then There Is More To Learn

Of course, communication How We Talk Online: A History of Online Forums, From Cavemen Days To The Present Let’s take a step back and think about the wonders of modern technology for one second. The web has made it possible to participate in near-instant communication on a global scale. Join me as I... Read More is the hardest part. Can you show me a simple game that will teach those skills? And what are the lessons gaming taught you?

Related topics: Puzzle Games, Windows Phone.

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

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  1. Catherine M
    February 13, 2014 at 6:44 pm

    Discovered FreeFlow a few weeks ago and love to exercise my mind and fine motor skills. I have challenged myself by experimenting a little: using an eye patch over one eye, using my non-dominant hand, etc. I also have had LTC residents (mostly over age 85) 'communicate' the moves needed to connect the dots - I use an hdmi cable (android tablet to tv) and show the game on a large screen tv so we can do it as a group. Some of them really like it. However, visual and motor control issues interfere with play ability. I am contacting the developer and asking if the backgound graphics can be turned off and the grid lines made more visual. Please post if you find other ways to use this game.

    • Tina S
      February 13, 2014 at 7:17 pm

      Wow, great hearing you're actually using the game with the elderly. Which other games have you tried with them and which ones worked well? Would love to hear more!

  2. Maarten D
    February 13, 2014 at 5:28 pm

    I absolutely love this game!

    Everytime I travel, this game is on my iPad, iPod, Android Phone.
    = Endless fun!

    But also just when you have to wait, it's just simple, and you always can pause it!

  3. Abhishek Tavasalkar
    February 13, 2014 at 5:14 pm

    Great Article. I have played Free Flow maybe a month ago and the joy completing each puzzle is awesome. Thank you Tina Sieber; you just added life to a simple game and to this article too. Feels good to read articles of such kind. Thank you once again.

  4. Sudeepto D
    February 13, 2014 at 3:02 pm

    Great insight from Tina.

    I love Flow very much and never thought a game can teach us so much.

    +1 for your effort :)

    Thank You..

  5. Vipul J
    February 13, 2014 at 9:55 am

    OK, I have actually finished Flow Free and even Flow Free Bridges, but I don't think even the developers tried to put a life lesson angle in the game. And neither can I see it, and hence make sense out of this article.
    All I'm saying is, maybe it's just a game, connect dots, work your mind!

    • Tina S
      February 13, 2014 at 11:29 am

      Just because the developers didn't think of it that way, doesn't mean you can't see it that way and thus obtain additional value from the game. It's just another dimension in which you can train your brain and work out mindfully.

  6. Victor O
    February 13, 2014 at 6:53 am

    Communication skills are best taught by talking to others! Heavy-tactical games that require member coordination for successful gameplay is key! One of the best examples is World of Tanks, in which players must communicate with each other to really become "good."

  7. Justin P
    February 13, 2014 at 12:24 am

    Absolutely loved this article. Lots to think about here.

    I wonder what a game that can teach you about communication would look like. Maybe voice recognition technology needs to get a lot better before that can happen...