Dédale is a pleasant, if somewhat unremarkable, grid puzzler
Dédale takes “coloring within the lines” to puzzle-orientated heights, throwing in a soothing atmosphere all for good measure. There’s something quite hypnotic about watching a flapping butterfly flit around, lighting up its way with piano plinks and splashs of color.
The fact that this same Dédale quickly becomes rather dull and repetitive is half down to the mechanic itself, and half down to the very samey level design. Numerous extra game mechanics are thrown in at intervals, but these aren’t really enough to pull us from our butterfly-inflicted stupor.
The premise is simple – on each grid-based level, you first choose where you want the butterfly to start, then move the insect through adjacent squares, lighting the grid up along the way, until the entire grid is bright and cheery.
Here’s the catch – you can’t move through a space that you’ve already lit up. Hence, you need to find a pathway that moves you through every space only once. It’s an age-old mathematics problem, with arty visuals and piano music played over the top essentially.
For the first few worlds, we found ourselves happy to calmly blitz through the puzzles, only getting stuck here and there when it threw us a curveball. There are tactics at work, such as finding the area in a level that has an odd number of squares together and starting there. Digging into the core of the concept is enjoyable enough, and kept us entertained for a short while.
Along the way, special squares are thrown in to catch you off guard, such as spaces that need floating over more than once, and spaces that force your butterfly to jump to other spaces. These work to keep the action that little bit fresher.
For those moments when you are truly stuck, there are two ways to push forward. Hitting the “hint” tab shows you where to place your butterfly to start, while you’re also provided with a set number of skips so that you can bid farewell to a particularly annoying level.
Dédale‘s underlying issue, unfortunately, is that it’s all a little bit too tame. We can’t exactly say that it excited us, or enthralled us, or even made us smile. It’s just a bog-standard puzzler that doesn’t do all that much wrong, but also doesn’t really offer anything that great.
Not to say it doesn’t have glaring problem here and there. For example, as you move around, a piano plinks with each movement. These plinks try to match the key that the current music is in, but it all just ends up sounding like a child banging their hands on a keyboard. Very irritating.
The level design also doesn’t help as far as the game’s tameness is concerned, with levels that all begin to blur together after a while. Sure, a Minecraft creeper or a space invader is thrown in every now and again, but overall the grids are pretty boring.
The Dédale-o-matic – a random level generator – is both a blessing and a curse. It’s great to have unlimited number of levels to play, but it also works to show just how generic and random-looking the main levels are.
If you’re interested in Dédale, our advice would be to grab it for iPhone or iPad – it’s far better as a quick toy to play around with on the work commute each morning. If you’re planning to play it on PC, however, we’d suggest grabbing the demo first, as you may find it’s not all that interesting.