[Review] Energy Cycle Edge – Nintendo Switch

 

Energy Cycle Edge

  • Developer : Sometimes You
  • Publisher : Sometimes You
  • Release Date : 05/12/2018
  • Review code provided by Sometimes You
  • Price: £4.49$4.99

First thing’s first, I have to say that even the simplest of games benefit from tutorials. Having a bit of guidance, background history or story of why you’re playing the game and what its ultimate purpose or goal is, is pretty much the bedrock of gaming.

Sadly this game lacks any direction at all. I would hazard a guess the reason being that those who choose to purchase and play this game have played the previous version, Energy Cell. Even then surely its just good practise to include some form of instruction – call it gaming courtesy. A simple statement at the beginning of the first level would of made a lot of difference. I didn’t have a clue what was going on or why.

The start screen is rather fancy and detailed, it also has absolutely no apparent correlation to the actual game, so that left me somewhat puzzled in itself.

Now I actually do enjoy a good puzzle game, something about taxing the old grey matter. It’s like scratching that hard to reach itch. One way or another it has got to be done.

This game is puzzle solving hardcore. I spent a good chunk of my life trying to solve stage 2 and was unable to solve it. So here’s the gist of it, you are presented with, what I will call crystalline shapes, in rows and columns (check out image below).

The apparent aim is to cycle through the colours of red, blue and green by selecting a shape then pressing the A button on a controller, which proceeds to cycle the colours of the selected shape and the adjoining row and or column. You do this until you have turned all the crystalline shapes the same colour. As no direction is given, I’m going on the assumption it doesn’t matter which colour as long as they all match. Theirs really is nothing more to say, it’s a simple, yet deceptively difficult game to play.

On the note of getting more difficult, all 44 levels are unlocked right off the bat. This obviously allows you to dive right into the deep end. I can tell you right now, the levels get ridiculously challenging and complex, taking the puzzles into a 3D environment where you need to solve each side of a cube (minus the top and bottom sides) in order to complete that level.

The shapes on the left and right edges are directly linked to their counter side part, so flipping the cube left or right, the corresponding edge shape colours will be the same.

We all enjoy a bit of music while playing games right? Well, Energy Cycle Edge audio fairs slightly better in critique and I personally found it relaxing and soothing, a welcome feeling to offset the frustration trying to solve the puzzles. I feel the music could of benefited from proactive, corresponding changes when getting closer to solving a puzzle. This would of made a great audio feedback hint without giving away the solution of the puzzle. Once the users hits a certain combination a change in music pitch, speed tone or even an added sound effect would of made the game more engaging and encourage the user to progress.

Conclusion

As puzzle games go, this has to be hands down without a shadow of doubt the hardest I’ve ever had the pleasure to play. The lack of tutorial or explanation on how to play the game really put me off. Perhaps in my many years of gaming I’ve been spoon fed too much, so, when faced with a situation like this, I’m like a fish out of water. Granted that’s my fault and not the game, however, I stand by my view, I believe it to be a very valid one. While I personally cannot recommend purchasing this game blind, I do encourage you to consider trying the demo, check it out for yourself and prove that I’m a complete dunce! I appreciate its not the most expensive game out there, however, we still want to get our monies worth.

It pains me, truly it does, to give this game such a low score however the lack of a tutorial really harms this game to newcomers. Sometimes less is more, sadly in this case less is exactly that, less.

 

Verdict
A puzzling puzzler that left me feeling puzzled
2/5

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