If youâ€™re someone who takes online IQ tests for fun because you enjoy the challenge (and thereâ€™s a lot more of you out there than anyone will admit), Griddle is the perfect game for you. For everyone else, Griddle is the cerebral workout thatâ€™ll help you learn to beat your brainiest mates at those online IQ tests so you can coax them to put down their books and join you for a night out.Griddle, which the second offering from Finish indie developers Punch Wolf Game Studios, will likely be one of the most challenging puzzle games youâ€™ll play this year – but donâ€™t let that put you off. Thereâ€™s no feeling quite like finally figuring out that heart-shaped level 26 puzzle youâ€™ve been stuck on for days.
The challenge in Griddle seems to come as much from itâ€™s very impressive behind the scenes shuffling algorithm as it does its self-imposed pressure. Youâ€™re very unlikely to be presented with the pieces in the same order twice, so it really feels almost like youâ€™re dealing with a different puzzle every time. If youâ€™re a trial and error kind of learner, this might seem like an insurmountable obstacle to surpass. However, if you stick with it, youâ€™ll likely start feeling your spatial reasoning skills improve. Itâ€™s a bit like lifting weights for your brain.
The shuffling system works the same whether youâ€™re playing in â€˜Time Attackâ€™ or â€˜Moves Challengeâ€™. As the name implies, â€˜Time Attackâ€™ gives you an (all too short) countdown timer within which you have to complete all of the levelâ€™s puzzles. Similarly, â€˜Moves Challengeâ€™ gives you a set number of moves within which you need to complete a specified number of puzzles. The idea of a timed challenge might seem more intense, but the countdown clock in â€˜Moves Challengeâ€™ really sneaks up on you. Both are equally difficult, equally frustrating and, most importantly, equally fun.
If you find yourself coming up short on time or moves, fortunately, there are booster cards that can be deployed at your discretion. Giving you either extra time or extra moves depending on your game mode they are all but essential to success once you hit the higher levels of the game. Bonus cards are awarded for successful completion of each level through â€˜loot boxesâ€™. In the timed challenges, completing the level on normal will win you a bronze or silver loot box while completing the level on hard will earn you a gold or silver loot box. The value of the loot boxes increases the higher you climb through the levels.
If you find yourself running short on bonus cards (donâ€™t worry â€“ happens to the best of us) Griddle has solutions for you. As a free-to-play game, Griddle offers both bonuses for ad watching and in-app purchases. So if you find yourself stuck, scroll back through time and give some of the levels youâ€™ve already beat another try. When you successfully complete them again (hopefully this time on hard) youâ€™ll have the option to double your rewards. While thereâ€™s a limit to how often you can collect this way, itâ€™ll like be enough to help get you past the next hurdle. If it isnâ€™t, itâ€™s always possible to purchase additional loot boxes as in-app purchases (just keep in mind that the prices listed are in euros rather than dollars).
Going beyond the gameplay itself, the graphics in Griddle lend the game something of an arcade feel. If youâ€™re someone whoâ€™s put off from other â€˜mind gamesâ€™ and their abundance of white space and clean, minimalist lines for fear of morphing into a tweed-wearing, Shakespeare-quoting brain box, thatâ€™s not going to be a problem here. Thereâ€™s no sense of snobbery here â€“ this is a tough game any puzzle fan can get behind.
The in-game music also contributes to Griddleâ€™s almost arcade-like feel, but it does get rather repetitive. This is a game youâ€™re likely going to be spending a lot of time in so it becomes a bit of a problem. It might be better to switch off the gameâ€™s music and throw on one of those ‘classical music for focus’ playlists because youâ€™ll need all the help you can get if you want to conquer Griddle.
Griddle is a smooth performing, sharp looking game that shows the flexibility of the Unity game engine. It also showcases a different side of Punch Wolf Studios who previously released the fun and mildly trippy SCAWAR Space Combat as an Android exclusive. Hopefully, Griddle wonâ€™t be a one-off. As many puzzle games are out on the market right now, there can never be too many truly tough yet unpretentious puzzle games.