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Game Day: Link Twin

Link Twin is an atmospheric puzzle game from Bucharest-based indie development studio Lorraine that follows the story of Lily and Tom, twins in search of their lost parents. The constraint that defines the way each puzzle works is that Lily and Tom can only move through their world in tandem - moving one character forward necessitates moving both forward. It's a simple mechanic that's beautifully implemented through great art and sound direction combined with challenging puzzles that evolve over the course of the game to keep it intriguing.

Link Twin features 100 levels spread across five chapters. The goal is to navigate Lily and Tom to defined spots without getting them hopelessly stuck or falling off the side of the grid-based board. You move the characters one square at a time by swiping in the direction you want them to go. The trick is that after the first puzzle, the goals are not side-by-side, which means you need to find a way to separate Lily and Tom. To accomplish that, you use obstacles in the game's environment. For instance, walking one character into a block, while the other continues to advance without a block in the way. As you progress through Link Twin, the puzzles gradually become more difficult introducing new obstacles and mechanics that complicate the solutions, including boulders Lily and Tom can roll into positions that help solve the puzzles and switches that make barriers disappear and goals appear.

Link Twin's puzzles are challenging and fun to solve, but aside from its unique gameplay mechanic, what sets this game apart from similar puzzle games is the soundtrack and art. The music in Link Twin lends a sense of mystery and foreboding to the game that reinforces the underlying story. The artwork serves a similar purpose giving the sense that Lily and Tom are trapped in a vaguely menacing world that you need to help them escape.

The use of obstacles and other game elements to correctly position Lily and Tom requires planning your moves in advance, which is what makes Link Twin fun. Of the recent puzzle releases on iOS, I've found Link Twin to be one of the most absorbing. Something about the pacing and design just pulls you in and won't let go, which has made it one of my favorite iOS puzzle games released so far this year.

Link Twin is available on the App Store.

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