Jul 29, 2014
As discussed previously, Space Forest Dilemma is an Android game which knows where its priorities are. Whereas the “game” in “video game” has been diluted to the point of implying little more than interactivity to go with its storytelling, Papquark clearly set out to make an actual game first and foremost.
The result is something almost more akin to an electronic board game like Simon than a Sonic, a Final Fantasy, or even an Angry Birds. There is something of a narrative– or at least an implied one, but it’s so minimalistic as to be almost inconsequential, save for talking first-time players through the tricks, traps, and nuances that they will be introduced to over the course of the game’s 100 levels.
Space Forest Dilemma‘s concept is as simple as its graphics: Each level presents a number of blocks marked with an arrow, and the goal is to tap each block so that it moves across the playing field to bounce off the other wall a few times without hitting anything. The inclusion of more blocks makes this more complicated, as players must time each just so that they are able to travel along their paths without hitting each other, back and forth until the number of bounces needed is satisfied. The addition of further obstacles and different blocks steps up the difficulty as one progresses, and while the premise remains simple, the complexity of the arrangements can lead to some real brain benders.
Though the game can rack your brain, it remains rather low pressure. There are no time limits, nor are players afforded a limited cache of lives to burn through. Just wait, try, and try again as necessary while a rather soothing soundtrack persists throughout the program.
If there is a (rather subjective) downside, it’s that some puzzles can feel rather brutal in their difficulty. While that may be desirable for some, others may feel turned off by it. On the plus side, players are not forced to play the game sequentially, meaning that they are not locked into the current level or previous ones until it is completed. If someone wants to skip a level, they are more than free to, whether they just want to bypass a particularly challenging level or just feel that the early goings are altogether too simple to complete. And for what it’s worth, the controls are easy to use and as simple as the graphics; any failures fall on the shoulders of the player, rather than the game.
Space Forest Dilemma harkens back to a very early, very simple, and still very enjoyable time in video gaming’s history, but does so with a modern flourish, thanks to the advances in graphics, sound, and of course, touchscreen technology. Playing it leads to a largely enjoyable time (if occasionally frustrating, albeit in a good way), and whether or not it reaches the heights of an Arkanoid or a Tetris, it should at the very least find an audience among the fans of such games as those.