Want to really get to know someone before seeing what they look like? Jigsaw might be the dating app for you.
As the concept of an IRL blind date is not one that exists in a locked-down 2020, the Jigsaw app presents an online space where the more you talk to people, the more you can see of their appearance.
In this way, Jigsaw belongs to a new group of dating apps that take on dating stalwart Tinder by offering an experience that focuses more on chat than looks. But does it work?
PLEASE NOTE: Dating apps are hugely subjective. Your ‘success’ and overall experience are likely to vary hugely from person-to-person. For our dating app reviews, we’ve tried to include as much objective information as possible, from reviewers who have used the Free and Premium features of each service. Where possible, we also include comments from the actual people reviewers meet via these apps, to try and get a balanced viewpoint from both sides.
Jigsaw Dating: overview
Jigsaw comes to the dating app market with an intriguing proposition. It marks itself out in direct opposition to Tinder, promising ‘more super, less superficial dates’ by taking a blind date approach.
The basic premise is that for each photo you upload, your face is obscured by a multi coloured jigsaw puzzle. The only way to reveal your face – and that of your potential match – is by sending chat messages via the app. It takes an exchange of 12 messages before your faces are revealed in their entirety. And sadly, this is where the app falls down on its premise.
Jigsaw Dating: Design
Jigsaw aims for a more playful design than most, with bold primary colours used for the fonts and menus and a bizarre Comic Sans-like font, makes the app look a little childish. The app also opts for a weird asymmetrical profile layout which spreads profile pictures on both sides of the screen.
While the concept is clearly a deliberate attempt to further differentiate it from the likes of Tinder, it means that it unwittingly hides profile blurbs below the fold, reinforcing the sense that users’ written info is less than essential, when – in this app’s case at least – it should have a pivotal role.
You can only upload a maximum of four profile pictures. The system is slightly fussy too, due to its reliance on face recognition, so be prepared to try various options before you have enough to be accepted.
You can choose the colour scheme of your jigsaw (from a colour palette of more than 20 options, many with silly names such as ‘Mac ‘n’ Cheese’ and ‘Swedish Furniture’), if you’re desperate to colour code the background to your outfit.
Jigsaw has a feature called Smart Photo which apparently chooses the ordering of your photos automatically, which you can toggle on or off. Again, this seems like an odd feature for an app which is supposed to be about going beyond basic looks.
Each profile also comes with a short tagline of two to five words and a choice of three personality prompts. Plus, unlocking pictures by messaging also reveals the user’s Instagram, Facebook Messenger and Twitter profiles, if they set them publicly.
I’m not sure how many people will gladly insert their Messenger profile into their dating profile, but I suppose at least it’s a fairly unique feature. On top of these layers, there are a number of set multiple choice ‘tags’ which cover basic profile info including education, religious beliefs, pets, kids, fitness levels, star sign etc.
An unusual entry here is the ‘Love Language’ option, which allows users to define their style of affection in terms of ‘physical touch’, ‘acts of service’, ‘gifts’ and ‘quality time’.
Filtering options are decidedly basic across the board, allowing you to narrow your search only by distance, age and gender. As with most apps, you can choose to engage a user by either sending a message or a simple like.
Upgrading to Premium-tier Jigsaw+ shows you your likes, lets you recover any matches which expired (we should mention here that users are only given 72 hours to complete their puzzles once they start chatting via the app), boost their profile to be three times more visible, send a SuperSend to jump the queue and leave unlimited daily likes.
Messaging via the app is pretty limited, allowing only plain text and web links. There’s often a message lag and there are no time stamps on messages either, which doesn’t help matters when you consider the 72-hour window to send a message. Jigsaw sends fairly well-crafted daily push notifications encouraging users to log on and be active, but given the limited users this comes off as a tad desperate.
- 1 week £7.99*
- 1 month £14.99
- 3 months £24.99
- 6 months £49.99
Comments from a female user
What did you like about the app?
The concept was novel enough, but that’s about it.
What didn’t you like? What would you change?
More or less everything. The design is very low rent, and the way the puzzle reveals parts of my face worries me, as I’d never know if someone stopped chatting to me because they didn’t like the look of my nose!
Have you ever paid to use it?
No, definitely not. I had limited patience even with the free version.
Is it worth it?
While it’s a novel enough approach, Jigsaw has two main issues with the app, and its users’ behavior. The first is that people just don’t message, the other is that there simply aren’t enough active users. Another issue is that many users don’t even complete their profiles, meaning you frequently have literally nothing to go on when it comes to starting a conversation, besides perhaps their hairstyle, what they’re wearing and the location of their photo.
I sent more than 50 chat starters and received just two back. Neither of these progressed far enough to fully reveal their jigsaws.
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