|July 23, 2014
|Puzzle, Music & Rhythm
When it comes to puzzle games, there is definitely no shortage of them in the indie market. From the cuboid action puzzle title EDGE from Two Tribes, to the first-person perspective title from Toxic Games entitled Q.U.B.E. (Quick Understanding of Block Extrusion), to the charming pyromaniac game of Little Inferno from Tomorrow Corporation, it seems that the indie scene has a generous dose of puzzle games to feed the need for puzzle game fanatics. Apparition Games delivers a unique fusion of puzzle and rhythm in its newly released game called Micron. However, is the game’s brevity still worth the price?
Micron began its journey as a game for Kongregate’s ‘Project Eden: Experience the Music’ game contest. It earned a second place victory. The judges on the panel included REZ and LUMINES creator, Tetsuya Mizuguchi, and representatives from Ubisoft, Gamespot and Kongregate.
In Micron, you are presented with a grid-like field where a steady stream of spheres emanates from one point of the grid. Coupled with that is a very catchy musical score that seems to shift as the spheres impact the wall opposite the sphere launcher. On the side of the game field, you’re given some tools that assist you in changing the path that the spheres traverse. When the spheres hit the panel, the panel also plays a small synthesized sound to indicate that you’ve successfully hit it. After the panel has been destroyed, the first sphere to touch the exit triggers the end of the level. The game contains 51 dazzling puzzles and rewards you with 12 bonus levels for your hard work.
There is, however, an important rule that should be followed. Your first instinct is to place all the directional tiles down at once to finish the level swiftly, but, given the rhythmic, musical nature of the game, you’re required to essentially create music while solving the puzzle. It is important to understand, as well, that timing is everything in this game. Some puzzles aren’t so hard-lined about timing whereas with others, timing is crucial in solving the puzzle. Regardless of the type of input the level demands, the game becomes progressively more challenging, with your brain sizzling as you stare at the screen full of spastic shapes for minutes on end before you once again abuse the reset button and start from scratch. The game tosses you a fair challenge with optimal polish and logical placement of the streams of balls, gates and exits. The ends truly do justify the means when it comes to solving the puzzles contained in this game.
As far as visuals go, Micron delivers a healthy dose of stimuli that is both pleasing to the eye and extremely attractive. As the level progresses, the screen gets busier with pleasantly colourful shapes and patterns with proper placement on the screen. Nothing is out of place, making it rewarding as you solve the puzzle to dazzle the human eye. Yet, with so much going on, the game still finds a way to hearken back to the times when games were more simplistic in their presentation. Micron contains absolutely no plot and makes great use of the lower budget with a simple menu presentation between levels. The game’s style and delivery reminds me of Tron in some regards. In terms of gameplay, I’m reminded of a little web game known as Laser Reflections, in which one must redirect a red beam of light to its destination.
Micron’s soundtrack is constructed by you – sort of. There is a distinctive base rhythm that begins to play as you enter the level. As mentioned previously, as you lay the spherical directional panels, the music begins to take shape and you’ll quickly find yourself either whisked away into a state of bliss with the calm, ambient sounds or bopping your head to the groovy jungle beats. You’ll almost not want the puzzle to end after you’ve reached the point where the song is “completed.”
Micron presents a perfect blend of aesthetically-pleasing visuals and head-bopping music that is sure to leave you thinking about the game long after you’ve completed it. It’s one of those games that leaves you wanting more. If you’re a puzzle game fiend like I am, you should hop over to Steam and plunk down $5. It’ll be well worth your investment, and you’ll be helping Apparition Games towards making more excellent titles like this in the future.