Casual puzzle games in the App Store have traditionally involved cartoon characters, flowing water, and other cute themes. The puzzles may be challenging, but grown ups don’t necessarily want to get caught playing around with big-eyed aliens or plump farm animals. Thanks to iOS 7, many developers have turned to minimalism for casual puzzle games.
Lyne is one of those apps that looks simple, but is a real brain scrambler. It features basic geometric shapes and a calming soundtrack so you can play in public and not feel like you have to hide your screen from coworkers…
As mentioned above, the game is minimalistic in design, with nothing more than simple geometric shapes. The background is plain with just the hint of diamond-shaped wallpaper. It almost reminds me of an argyle print.
On any given level there are between one and four shapes. There are triangles, squares, diamonds, and hexagons. The first three are pair-specific, while the hexagons are interchangeable with other shapes (but not each other).
Some levels only have a few shapes in the puzzle, while others fill the screen with many shapes. The screen will zoom in or out, depending on how big the puzzle is.
The number of shapes in a puzzle does not reflect how easy or difficult it is to solve. Some puzzles have 12 shapes, but easy solutions, while others have only six shapes and are nearly impossible to solve.
The soundtrack features calming chimes that are triggered by your movement. When you connect two shapes, you will hear a relaxing note. At the same time, a low musical hum can be heard in the background while you are chiming away at the notes.
The game starts off very simply. Which is good, because there are no real instructions. The goal is to connect all matching shapes by creating a line between them. So, if there are three squares and three diamonds, you must connect each set to its self. You can’t cross lines, so if two shapes are in the way of each other’s path, you must find another way to connect them.
After a few levels, the hexagonal shape will appear. This shape will have a couple of holes in it. The hexagon is like a pass through for any shape and the holes represent how many times the hexagon must be passed through in order to complete the puzzle. For example, if you have three squares and three diamonds and one hexagon with two holes, you may be able to connect each set of shapes by using the hexagon as a pass through once. However, because there are two holes in the hexagon, the puzzle has not been solved completely and you must try again, using the pass through twice.
The game gets more complex at about level 12. An additional shape is incorporated, adding to the complexities of trying to connect sets. More holes are added to the hexagon so you have to pass through it even more times than before. The challenges are more difficult up to level 25. Then, a new round begins.
There are different “worlds” in this game, designated by a letter (a, b, c, etc.). Each world has 25 levels. When a new world begins, the difficulty goes back down for a few rounds while you learn the new gameplay. Then, you’ll be back trying to figure out how to connect sets of shapes across impossible odds all over again.
Once you’ve completed 50 puzzles, you will unlock a new mode of gameplay, called “Daily.” Every day, a new set of puzzles is generated in Daily mode. Each day, the difficulty level is different than the previous day. For example, one day might have two rounds of 25 levels each with a difficulty level of “simple.” A second day might have the same number of puzzles with a difficulty level of “normal.” The daily-generated puzzles are completely different than the puzzles you play in the basic mode, so you will get fresh new challenges every single day.
This game is very relaxing, but far from simple. After the first round of puzzles, things really start to pick up and the challenges are more difficult. You never feel like they are too hard to solve, though. Even the hardest puzzles feel like they are just out of reach of being completed. With patience, they always are.
There is no hint or skip feature. If you don’t solve a puzzle, you are stuck until the end of time, or until you figure it out. I’d love to see a hint option added to the game.
Lyne costs $2.99. This may seem a bit pricey for a casual puzzle game, but keep in mind that new challenges are added daily, so you will never run out of puzzles. Even if you complete all levels in the basic game, you can still come back every day for a new set of 50 more puzzles.
Fans of simple puzzle games will absolutely love this game. It is easy to figure out, while giving your brain a real challenge. The price may seem high, but take into account the fact that new puzzles are unlocked every day for additional challenges. I am already hooked on it. This game is available for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. Download it in the App Store today.
Do you prefer minimalist puzzle games to the cartoonish variety? Do you think you will check out this game?