Rock-Paper-Scissors is a simple game that is so effective in its design that it has not only been used as tool to determine multimillion dollar deals, but is also an extremely common mechanic used in video games to balance the relationships between weapons. 1Button has taken RPS to a surprisingly fresh place in their minimalist puzzler Trilogic. Featuring a vibrant color scheme, modern icons and a modular board, Trilogic is deceptively simple while offering an appealing series of increasingly more difficult challenges.
Trilogic uses fire, water and leaves as the three elements in relation to one another; fire consumes leaves, leaves consume water, water consumes fire. The goal of the game is to fully consume two of the three elements, leaving a board entirely covered in one element. To accomplish this, elements need to be moved and used strategically to clear or create paths and large blocks of colors, ultimately ending up with just one solidly colored board. Each element has a limited number of moves it can make, so your success depends on how well you can negotiate the space with your elements. (Check out Gamezebo’s guide to Trilogic for tricks and strategies to help you move through levels with ease).
The visual components and the game mechanics are quite simple, but there is nothing low-fidelity about the gameplay experience. Trilogic loads and moves quickly, there is very little waiting, and it is quite responsive. No action feels like a waste, and I never felt moments of tedium. Swiping to undo a move is efficient and clean, though I would love to see a feature where swiping backwards along the path would also undo a move. As you progress to more difficult levels, each puzzle requires a matrix of thinking, where each element is considered in relation to one another, along with how successive moves will impact each remaining element on the board. These layers of thinking will be very satisfying for folks who like to feel like each choice they make will matter.
If you get stuck, there is an IAP to get ten keys which allows for ten level skips. However, Trilogic is already a premium game, so I feel like additional charges are bad form. Either make the game free-to-play with ads and IAPs or charge for the game download. If you must keep those IAPs, then also give players a good-faith free key when they clear a stage (that would amount to only three keys by level 60); or if you’re just not feeling that generous, how about just one free key for clearing an element (for a total of three keys per game). Keeping up morale is a very important part of the puzzle experience and with no hint system, keys are the only fallback to bring a player back to the game if they’ve gotten really stuck.
Gratefully, the pace of Trilogic is entirely at the player’s discretion, with gameplay sessions lasting only as long as the player wants. I normally dislike timed games immensely, especially puzzle games because I like to take my time working out solutions at a mellow pace. However, I could definitely see a timed arcade stage offered in Trilogic that could repeat all previous levels with a time constraint. This would offer some replayability to the game, even for the pros who have already mastered all of the levels.
As with 1Button’s physics puzzler Super Sharp, Trilogic pushes you to consider positive and negative space in a new way as you overlay each progressive element. In a chess-like fashion, you’ll need to plan several moves in advance to accomplish your goal of clearing the board, which results in truly satisfying solutions. Trilogic is an ideal game for people who like to work on puzzles at their own pace and who enjoy gameplay sessions that can be short or long, depending on their window of time to play. But, considering how enjoyable Trilogic is, we suspect your windows for gameplay will get longer and longer.