Thursday, 25 April 2013

Review: ON/OFF for iPhone and iPad

1Button is an indie studio that develops apps and games with a very distinctive, minimalistic style. Their latest puzzle game is called ON/OFF, and it has been downloaded over a million times, so you might know about it already.
At the time of writing, there's a promotion going on: by tapping a button on the developer's website, you can unlock all available levels for free.
At the core, this is a tile sliding puzzle, where each row/column scrolls at once, wrapping around at the sides of the board. On the App Store there's a gazillion of apps using these mechanics, so nothing new so far.
One novelty when compared to similar puzzles is that instead of reconstructing a picture, you have to connect coloured "switches" on the sides of the board, using tiles of the same colour.
Another novelty is that the playing area is not necessarily square or rectangular, but can be any shape, as one of the first puzzles illustrates.


Early on, another puzzle element is introduced: black tiles, which cannot wrap around from the sides of the board, therefore limiting movement possibilities.

Other elements introduced later include tiles larger than 1x1, which cause multiple rows/columns to scroll at the same time, and must not be split by wrapping around the sides of the board.
There's currently a total of 220 puzzles, split across 11 "worlds". Some worlds are free, others can be bought using in-app purchases. The puzzles can be played in any order, but some worlds are locked until all puzzles in the previous world are solved.

The puzzles in this game can be hard, however my feeling is that they are more tedious than difficult. The boards are often unnecessarily large, as some of the screenshots in this review illustrate. Solving such puzzles surely requires patience and a lot of mechanical repetition, but the need for intuition is too diluted to make me find them interesting.

 Summary

Nontrivialness★★★☆☆
Logical Reasoning★★☆☆☆
User Interface★★★☆☆
Presentation★★★★☆
Loading Time★★★☆☆
Saves Partial Progress
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©2013 Nicola Salmoria. Unauthorized use and/or duplication without express and written permission is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Nicola Salmoria and nontrivialgames.blogspot.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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