Polarity Review

Polarity Review

Jan 21, 2014

Ouya opened up the door to quality Android-based console gaming. As it is, Polarity, an interesting first person puzzle game, is one byproduct we can get behind.

The defining factor of this game is the view; as noted, it is decidedly in player-point of view. The entire screen makes up the range of vision, and the controls allow for the looking around. The right side of the screen facilitates these movements, allowing one to dynamically “look” up, down and to swing around to either side in unlimited fashion. The left part houses the virtual joystick that controls “walking” in designated directions. There are also buttons for picking up/throwing/dropping objects and jumping.

To get the gameplay, a bit of backstory is needed. The player assumes the role of a hacker who is hired to break into a secure facility to collect valuable data bits. At stake? A good payout, and even more importantly, bragging rights.pol1

The gameplay starts with some pointers that generally give an idea of what to do. The futuristic environment has plenty of obstacles and artificial problems. The general idea is to solve the problems using the tools at hand. Early on, brightly coloured lasers are encountered; to get through them, a polarity switching device has to be utilized so as not to get zapped. There are other creative things, like box keys that need to be collected and transferred to open or otherwise provide access to an area where some data is located. As it goes on, the puzzles get tougher, and more thought had to be attached.

The graphics add to the game feel, with stark hallways interspersed with bright splashes of color, and the animations employed do the job of advancing the gameplay to a degree. I am not the biggest fan of the navigation tools, but they are not overly complicated. I suspect they are better on the console version.

All in all, I have to admit I came away wanting just a bit more. The parallels with Portal are unmistakable, but also serve to make it feel a touch bland at times. I think the game would do well with just a bit of oomph added in.

If anything, this leveled game can be a fun diversion for a relatively decent, upfront price.

Orion’s Forge Review

Orion’s Forge Review

Sep 3, 2013

Orion’s Forge lets the imagination run wild, and makes star-making a co-op affair.

All the intricate tale-building comes together to cloak an interestingly conceived puzzle adventure. To help Orion craft his stars, it is necessary to use unique tools to guide star energy to a specially labeled “star launcher” that shoots the starts into space, signalling that puzzle is done. For every puzzle, another piece of the constellation is completed, as well as the corresponding tale.

The playing area is mostly made up of an intricate area which is Orion’s manufacturing plot. In each, there is a orion1source portal that generates the star energy, which appears as a golden smattering of light energy. At another point on the floor, there is a a target area which is the star launcher. In most levels, there are other towers available; some pull the energy stream, and others push it. Not all the of these polar towers are movable, and the trick is positioning the movable ones in such a manner that they enhance (or diminish) the forces necessary to get them to the source portal.

To make things more challenging, there are black holes in some levels hat swallow the energy. Using the polar towers help minimize their force. There are also things like wormholes, which “jump” the star energy across invisible space and out a corresponding hole. In some levels, there were more than one or one set of these special elements. Working the towers against themselves and the holes could be especially challenging. There is a level or two where the solution is to direct multiple streams to a single launcher to get the star up and going.

The games packs decent graphics, and animations at every turn, and good bit of intro dialogue. The artwork is warm and welcoming, and the in-game visuals are effective at getting the story across.

The biggest gripe is the scope of the puzzles. I still think a bit more activity could be slipped into the gameplay. Fun as the puzzles were, I suspect a twinge of monotony can creep in at times. It is a testament to the game that I was able to get through so quickly, though.

It’s a cool game in small morsels.