MicroPuzzle lets you unleash your inner electrical engineer
I think somewhere deep inside of me there’s an engineer dying to get out. There’s something about the idea of circuits and capacitors that seem to needle some little pleasure center in my brain. Luckily for the world I’m far too dumb to actually be an engineer, no doubt many of your lives saved with me safely away from the dials that keep this world powered and moving. No, I’ll have to toil away in the obviously engineer-inspired game MicroPuzzle.
It’s the look of the game that will grab you first. It’s something right out of an engineer’s electrical diagram (or so it looks) and just gives off the feeling of being interesting. That’s probably a weird word to use in reference to a game’s appearance, but it really just makes you want to interact with it and see what changes. It sort of made me feel like a kid again with one of those 100-in-1 electrical experiment kits, manipulating knobs and wires to light bulbs and create tones.
Of course the goal in MicroPuzzle isn’t to create experiments, but to create the circuits requested of you in each level. The setup is always the same: six triangles run down the left side of the screen in different colors representing circuits, and on the right side there are squares where the lines terminate. Your job (should you choose to accept it) is to line up the colors on the right side in the requested order. Incorrect termination points are red, letting you know at a glance how close you are to solving the puzzle.
You’ll be able to manipulate and change the lines to twist them to match up with the solution using different elements that you can add to the lines. Some just take two circuits and flip them, but others will allow you to split or merge signals, or more. You can drag and drop these elements anywhere on the line, so for example: you could merge 2 lines then flip them or vice verse depending on how you place them in the circuit.
This leads to the main issue with the game, in that you never really know what the different items do until you play around with them, and the tutorial really doesn’t offer much help in that realm. They seemed to take a “play with it and you’ll learn” approach to the game, and I think that serves to its detriment. It’s really confusing at first, so a little handholding would go a long way towards long term enjoyment of MicroPuzzle.
It’s really a shame that the game doesn’t do a better job of explaining itself to the player. There’s a really interesting puzzle game here – something with a very unique look that’s wildly different than any other puzzle game I’ve played, but it’s hampered by its lackluster tutorial and unclear goals. The game seems to be your reward for muscling through these huge shortcomings to come out on the other side of understanding.