Posts tagged with "games"

Neo Angle Review: No Turning Back

You might be tempted to feel confident after the first few levels of Neo Angle, the follow-up game from Blyss developer Dropout Games. After all, you just have to move your triangle to a certain spot on the grid, occasionally picking up small fuel cells along the way. Early on, the most challenging part may be refraining from bobbing your head to the music.

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Game Day: kubrain

Gamebra.in’s new puzzle game, kubrain, proves that there is still room for creativity and innovation in the color matching puzzle genre popularized ages ago by Tetris. Like many other games in the category, kubrain requires players to match colored blocks as they descend onto a playing field, but there’s a mind-bending twist. The playing field is a 3D cube that players can rotate to make room for incoming blocks. The result radically changes the way you approach the game compared to other matching games creating a challenging and novel gaming experience that is fun to play and difficult to master.

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Game Day: Linelight

Linelight, an award-winning minimalist puzzle game by My Dog Zorro, debuted on iOS this week. The game was released for Windows and macOS earlier this year and is available on Sony’s PS4, but this is the first time the game has made its way onto a mobile, touch-based platform. Many games bill themselves as ‘minimalist,’ but few are as elegantly simple as Linelight. The result is a game that is easy to play and understand, highlighting the game’s perplexing and fun puzzles over its mechanics.

You play as a dash of light traversing a line. You guide your dash along the line that splits and branches in different directions by dragging your finger across the screen of your iOS device. To stop and consider how to solve a puzzle, just pick up your finger and your dash stays put. Linelight works so well as a touch-based game, it’s hard to believe that it was designed for keyboards and controllers first.

As you advance your dash along the line, you encounter puzzle after puzzle. In total, there are over 200 puzzles split across six separate spacey worlds. As with any good puzzle game, Linelight introduces new challenges gradually. There are sections of lines that shift depending on whether your dash passes over a switch, keys to be picked up and delivered to designated spots, red dash enemies that you need to avoid because colliding with one means starting that puzzle over, and much more.

There is no up or down in Linelight, so it doesn’t matter if you play in portrait or landscape, which is a nice departure from the many games that require you to play in one orientation or the other. Add a soothing piano-based soundtrack to its tricky puzzles and Linelight is one of the most relaxing and absorbing games I’ve played this year. If you’re a fan of puzzle games, Linelight is a must-play.

Linelight is available on the App Store.


Game Day: Color Magnet

Color Magnet, by The One Pixel, is a classic color-matching puzzle game with a twist. A grid of colors blocks advances down the screen as you drop in strategically placed new blocks to make color matches. The blocks are magnetically attracted to other blocks of the same color. When placed on the grid, the blocks between the newly placed piece and the closest piece horizontally or vertically of the same color change to match the color of the block you placed. Match five or more blocks to clear them and the ones below them on the board.

Gameplay is complicated by locked and cross blocks. A locked block is unlocked by matching colors nearby or clearing a cluster of blocks next to it. Once unlocked, a block becomes a random color. Cross blocks can only be destroyed by clearing blocks above them in the stack. It's not nearly as complex as it sounds, though it requires careful planning and strategy.

Color Magnet looks and sounds great, pairing a palette of pastel colors with a playful soundtrack. There are also light and dark themes for comfortable late-night binge playing in bed.

Replay-value is enhanced by three game modes. Classic mode challenges players to beat their high score. Universal mode pits you against the rest of the Color Magnet-playing world with the same sequence of puzzles presented to everyone. Puzzle mode has 30 unique puzzles that challenge you to clear the entire board.

The magnet mechanic and depth added by the trio of gameplay modes takes what might have been a 'me-to' matching puzzle game and gives it a unique spin that's fun and addicting in the same way Threes is. If games like Threes are your thing, Color Magnet won’t disappoint.

Color Magnet is available on the App Store.


Game Day: Resynth

Resynth creates a novel experience by fusing synthesizer tunes with a puzzle game. Stripped of the musical components, Resynth would be a fairly standard puzzle game that requires you to push blocks into positions and flip switches on a map to move to the next level. What makes Resynth unique though, is its music.

Each level begins with a looping synthesizer track. As you move blocks into the correct positions and toggle switches, notes are added to the loop, evolving the music. The changes to the music provide an added sense of accomplishment as you play. Pack 1 includes 36 puzzles. Pack 2 has another 36 puzzles that can be unlocked by earning stars or with an In-App Purchase.

Throughout each level, a white line loops across the screen in time with the synth loop, adding a sense of motion to the music. Also, once a block is pushed into position, it pulses to the beat. The approach reminds me of Sound Shapes, a musical platformer available on the Sony PS4 and Vita that combines music and motion in a similar way. Although Resynth is a very different game, the effect is similar, adding a sense of progress and motion to each level.

The mechanics are straightforward. You push blocks around the map by swiping. Moving around faster can be accomplished by swiping and holding. The levels get progressively harder requiring more complex maneuvers like moving two blocks in tandem. The maps become more complex too, limiting the space available for moving blocks into position. If you get a block stuck in a place where you can’t complete a puzzle, there are undo and restart buttons, which I appreciate with this type of game.

The challenge is mostly in the puzzles themselves, with one qualifier. There is a star system tied to each level. Stars are earned based on time to complete the puzzle and the number of moves it takes you to do so. Fortunately, it’s easy to ignore this, which I’ve been doing because I prefer the low-stress approach to this sort of puzzle game. The one downside to ignoring the star system is that unless you earn enough stars, you won't be able to unlock the Pack 2 puzzles unless you buy the In-App Purchase. Still, challenging puzzles combined with an excellent soundtrack make Resynth an excellent way to unwind over the weekend.

Resynth is available on the App Store.


Game Day: Poly Bridge

It’s a good bet that I’ve stumbled onto a great game when it gets in the way of finishing the review. That’s been the case with Poly Bridge, a physics-based puzzle game with simulator elements that sucks me in for long stretches every time I launch it.

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Super Arc Light Review: A Classic Arcade Shooter

Developer No Code Studio knows how to make a game, as evidenced by their offerings across a variety of subgenres. But if you need proof of No Code Studio’s prowess, look no further than the addicting shooter Super Arc Light.

In a modern-day take on the style of gameplay made popular by titles like Space Invaders, Super Arc Light assigns you one task: ward off enemies creeping ever closer to you. As a barrage of shapes appears, you’ll fire shots their way, hoping to hit them as soon as you can, both to continue the game and to score higher points. If an enemy stays for too long, it’ll move in faster and, if not dealt with, end your game.

A seemingly easy premise becomes far more difficult with Super Arc Light’s movement mechanisms, which ditches a linear movement for a more circular approach. Since enemies can approach you from any side, you’ll rotate around a circle, changing direction by shooting. This takes a while to get used to, but it provides a unique challenge that adds difficulty to the game.

Throughout your play-throughs, you’ll unlock new weapons that make taking down enemies much easier. Each has its benefits and drawbacks, but discovering and utilizing the tools you find in-game will be imperative to raising your overall score.

Overall, Super Arc Light isn’t a story-driven game that you’ll sink dozens of hours into – but that’s okay. It’s a stellar arcade experience, one that will challenge you at a blistering pace from start to finish of each run. For a quick, intense gaming fix, Super Arc Light is a perfect choice.

If you’d like to give Super Arc Light a try, you can pick it up in the App Store for $1.99 (Universal).


Game Day: Missile Cards

Missile Cards, which originally debuted on Steam, combines so many of my favorite game elements - a strategy-based mashup of genres, retro graphics, and a fun chiptune soundtrack - that I knew I had to try it. My only hesitation was that it’s a mashup of a Missile Command-style arcade shooter with a card game, which isn’t one of my favorite genres. My reluctance disappeared the minute I began playing though. Missile Cards is a fantastically fun game that’s incredibly hard to put down.

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Sputnik Eyes Review: Puzzles in Space

I’m going to let you in on a couple prevailing facts about Sputnik Eyes, a “homemade” game by Shelly Alon.

The first is that the story, at least in my eyes, makes little sense. It includes – but is not limited to – robots, space, planets, constellations, exploration, Earth, scorpions, hearts, and a rocket ship. It’s a hodgepodge of an idea, one that I immediately misunderstood and hardly plays any role in the overall game.

But the second fact is that Sputnik Eyes is one of the most enjoyable puzzle games I’ve played in a while, and one I can’t seem to stop playing. Equal parts charming and challenging, Sputnik Eyes feels exactly like what a puzzler should in 2017: clean, fun, and to the point.

Move Along, Robot Friend

When you start a level of Sputnik Eyes, you’ll find yourself accompanied by a grid and your robot pals. Each stage has a unique pattern, a series of connected lines that form points, sat on by the bots of varying colors. Take a look at the examples below:

Effectively, Sputnik Eyes is a matching game, one that requires you to pair the robot to its respective colored spot on the map. While it sounds easy in theory, the game throws interesting obstacles in your way, like one-way lines and paths that can only be traveled by a certain color. The more you play, the more complex Sputnik Eyes becomes; eventually, each puzzle seems more crowded than the one before it.

From there, the game can be played in a variety of ways. At the most basic level, you only need to complete the level to move on. However, finish the level in a limited set of moves or within the time period and you’ll receive badges signifying your accomplishments. Although badges have no in-game value, they’re a completionist’s symbol of pride.

Carefully Crafted, Wonderfully Executed

I normally like to weave in comments about a game’s design into a review, but much of what makes Sputnik Eyes so endearing is some of its aesthetic choices. One of the best examples is the game’s framing – instead of the game taking up the full screen, it rounds off its corners to give it a distinct look.

Throughout the gameplay and menu navigation, you’ll see carefully crafted animations, character models, and level designs. Motion is utilized exceptionally in Sputnik Eyes, adding touches that make the atmosphere more alive and vivid. And behind it all lies a soundtrack that shifts between ambient and thought-provoking, unafraid to take your attention but simple enough to fade into the background when you’re thinking hard about a puzzle.

All of this is to say that Sputnik Eyes feels created in a way that makes you, the player, feel cared for. When playing, I felt like each piece of the game was built for me to notice, appreciate, and consider as part of the overall experience.

Conclusion

$1.99 and many levels later, I’m thrilled by Sputnik Eyes. Had it been in the earlier days of the App Store, I think it’d be considered a touchstone of the puzzle genre; now, despite the App Store’s continuous growth in its biggest category, Sputnik Eyes still stands out as a must-have for puzzle fans.

If you’d like to pick up Sputnik Eyes, you can do so for $1.99 in the App Store (Universal).