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Game Day: Euclidean Lands

Every so often the mashup of familiar game styles results in something unexpected and delightful, which is precisely what Vienna-based Miro Straka and kunabi brother have created with Euclidean Lands. The game has been compared favorably to Monument Valley and Square Enix’s Hitman GO from a design and gameplay perspective. The comparison is apt but doesn’t capture the uniqueness of Euclidean Lands.

You play the game on a series of isometric six-sided cubes that rotate with swipes like a Rubik’s cube. As the hero, you need to defeat all of the enemies placed around the cube's surface and make your way to a designated exit square. As you progress from level to level, new dangers and obstacles are thrown at you on a regular basis keeping the game interesting, but at a manageable pace.

In all, there are five chapters comprised of 40 puzzles. The enemies add a compelling twist to Euclidean Lands. You can only advance one square at a time. Move into the wrong position, and an enemy will attack and defeat you unless you have the protection of a shield that you’ve picked up somewhere on the battlefield. The challenge increases later as you face bosses and your enemies gain the ability to rotate the cube too.

The design of Euclidean Lands is beautiful, which isn’t surprising given that it’s from the same fraternal duo that won an Apple Design Award in 2014 for their first game, Blek. The sound design is just as impressive. The game features a soothing electronic soundtrack coupled with sound effects like the scraping of stone on stone as you rotate blocks, which adds a feeling of heft and reality to the game. I was hoping that the rotation of the blocks would be accompanied by haptic feedback on the iPhone 7 but was disappointed to find that it is not.

One-dimensional puzzle games are everywhere on the App Store, but games like Euclidean Lands that add an element of surprise stand out from the rest. Having to think in three dimensions to reach multiple destinations on the cube, while outflanking enemies imbues Euclidean Lands with a novelty that few games can match.

Euclidean Lands is available on the App Store at an introductory 40% discount.

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