It’s a rare and fulfilling feeling when you find a well-designed game…umm, well-designed anything really, but especially games, with all the interactions you can do. You look at the homescreen, touch some buttons, try a few levels, and start to notice all the details that make the experience smooth and enjoyable: it’s just satisfying. The award-winning, multi-platform Prismatica evoked such a feeling in me in the short time I tried it to write this review: it’s addicting, it’s fun, it’s relaxing, it’s just a plain good game, and the fact that it’s available as a Universal Windows App just makes it a must-have for puzzle-lovers on the platform.
A personal project of Thordur Matthiasson from Loomus Games, also Senior Developer of Iceland-based CCP Games of EVE Online fame, Prismatica is a unique “colorful puzzle game with a brand new twist inspired by Rubik’s Cubes, Sudoku, Dodecahedrons and way too much caffeine,” quoting the official description. Nice wordplay, in fact, since the gameplay of Prismatica is based on two simple mechanics of color-matching and “twisting” what looks like hexagonal colorful wheels. And it’s the only thing you can do: spinning the wheel to match the colors of the tiles with its core. It also teaches a bit of color theory in that there will always be two wheels or more linked by a tile of a mixed color from the wheels. The game doesn’t even feature any text, just animations and visual cues to guide you along.
It’s as simple as it gets, but it’s a distilled form of simplicity: the fun does not come from the control (which works equally excellent with touch and mouse on a laptop); instead, it comes from the pure joy of solving a puzzle. The game features 48 hand-crafted levels, with a really smooth difficulty curve that introduces you slowly to the concept before throwing in more wheels and mixing things up for a harder challenge.
It’s a very serene experience, no timer or move counts, just you and the puzzle (although a “Challenge mode” with those things are also present for the more hardcore audience) that will definitely appeal to people of any age (as a matter of fact, the developer included on his homepage the experience of his 18-month-old son and 3-year-old daughter playing the game.) As an example of how well-thought-through everything is, the game even features a color blind mode. All of this is accompanied by a haunting, enveloping soundtrack from the reknowned, award-winning Icelander folk musician Svavar Knutur which the contemplative, Zen-like atmosphere beautifully.
In a rare case where a game website is almost as interesting as the game itself, Prismatica’s homepage just exudes humour and personality in a light and playful manner (I really urge you to go read it for a good chuckle: there’s even a “MarketSpeak-to-English translations” section where Thordur explains the game descriptions in, um, plainer ways; the “Stuff People May Have Said” section is pure gold.)
With the usual lack of well-made games lamented by Windows Store users, gems like Prismatica are always a welcome sight (did I mention it came out on the Windows Store at the same time as on other stores?) and we can hope, along with the success of Windows 10, to see more of these experiences in the future. The game will be featured in Microsoft’s Red Stripe Deals from October 8th-15th at a whooping 50% off, an absolute bargain that you don’t want to miss. Get it from the link below:
Further reading: Games, Microsoft, puzzle games, Windows, Windows Store