Curious about how developers approach the use of purchased hints and scoring.
I have a puzzle app that allows users to incrementally reveal an optimal solution via purchased hints. They can choose to ultimately reveal the whole solution or only pieces of the solution.
There are hundreds of puzzles in the app. The nature of each puzzle is not so memorable (many look similar). Each puzzle has multiple solutions and an optimal solution so a player can return to an already solved puzzle to improve her/his score and strive for the optimal solution. Scoring is based on the number of moves (lower is better). The app tracks the personal best score for each puzzle.
From a standpoint of user experience and better/longer gameplay...
Would it be a bad idea to somehow penalize (in scoring) the player for using hints? Is there precedence for this? I had the notion of adding a point (low score is better) for every hint used. The penalty would preclude reaching the perfect score. This way the player can use a hint when stuck but still return to try for the optimal solution without hints.