Perloo is the first game offering from design studio Perceptor, whose past work includes such creations as Crowdpilot, an app that allows you to crowdfund dates and other social interactions, and Your Name in Gum, a collaborative art site that provides exactly what it promises: your name in chewed up gum. With these and other playful, admittedly odd creations under their belt, it’s little surprise that Perloo is a mysterious, lofty, and conflicting experience that borders more on art project than pastime distraction.
As a game, Perloo is the epitome of the abstract puzzler. Its logical, geometric challenges are bookended by a live action narrative that provides no guidance or rules, but a serene, contemplative atmosphere. A man finds a black triangle buried in the desert as a voice ponders, “Where do we find ourselves?” and other poetic musings. Then you are suddenly starting at the title screen, the two “o”s of “Perloo” made of a black dot and white dot which drop off the word and are now floating alone in front of you. The game has begun.
This is the first of Perloo’s eight separate puzzles, and as with every challenge in the game, you are given no direction or obvious goal. You might try to tap the dots at first, drag them—nothing happens. As your touch shakes the device and it moves slightly, you see the white dot also slide. You’ve learned something, and now you can begin to move forward.
Every interaction with Perloo progresses this way, and each puzzle forces you to start anew. Your first task on any puzzle is to figure out its mechanics: the white circle moves, but the next puzzle has multiple moving parts. Another features a partially vanishing grid of squares. Yet another contains two triangles, one of which rotates slowly to stimulus but appears to do little else. Nothing is obvious at first or even third glance, and deducing how the onscreen objects work creates the same furrowed brow warmth as an obtuse math puzzle or brain teaser. Read more »