CONNECT THE LINES
MINIMAL INSTRUCTIONS Who can forget the first time they scored a four-line-clearing Tetris, or touched a landmine in a game of While the puzzle genre underwent tremendous shifts in presentation and play style over the years, one thing remains unchanged: the “Aha!” moment where everything clicks into place. There’s certainly no shortage of puzzle games today, but the deluge of hidden object and match-three games can only ‘entertain’ you for so long before you’re facing the slippery slope that is microtransactions.
For those who crave for something more substantial,
has finally arrived after eight long years of development. The brainchild of Jonathan Blow – who you may remember as the creator behind puzzle-platformer
is designed to give the player a mental workout through a series of increasingly complex challenges. The island, in which the player can freely traverse in first person, is beautifully realized and so varied in environments that it effortlessly evokes that feeling of eerie isolation as you attempt to piece the events that led to your curious arrival.
Many of today’s games are typically laden with tutorials to familiarize players with the basic controls and gameplay mechanics to the point of overbearing. Players, in turn, are made to feel empowered whenever they perform some arbitrary actions that require nothing more than simple button presses. Not so with as the only tutorial you’ll see concerns the movement controls. Given that there’s no inventory system to speak of, the screen is also free from HUD clutter. POWER OF OBSERVATION Peppered throughout the island are maze panels, which the player will need to solve by tracing a path from its start to end node. It sounds simple enough, but new mechanics come into play as you attempt the puzzles in each new area that the island has to offer. It’s natural to be stumped on certain puzzles, and the solutions do present themselves once you get the right fundamentals in place – usually from stepping back and roaming other parts of the island. To reveal more would ruin the fun of discovery, but suffice to say that the environment plays a major role in determining the solutions, and there’s more to the game than meets the eye. With that said, there are a number of puzzles that will be difficult for some color-blind and hearingimpaired players.
Given its non-linear structure, much of the backstory are doled out in piecemeal fashion, taking the form of seemingly-unrelated audio logs and video clips for players to form their own conclusions. All in all, may just be the most cleverly designed puzzler we’ve had the pleasure of playing to date.
There’s something about this