Puzzle games need to find the right balance between complexity and ease – between challenge and success. Go too far in one direction and you’ll lose all of your players, go too far in the other and, well, you’ll lose all of your players. Unfortunately Blixi (download from the App Store) doesn’t manage to find that perfect combination.
The game looks pretty nice. It takes place on a simple grid with a few colored blobs on it. You can swipe horizontally or vertically to move all of the blobs in that direction. When two or more blobs of the same color are next to each other, they’ll combine when you swipe in the right direction.
Every time you swipe, the game drops some new blobs onto the board. It’s your job to keep it as clear as possible, combining the orbs together in order to make space for the next lot. So it’s basically a match-stuff puzzler with a swiping, shifting twist.
There’s a decent rhythm to proceedings, and something quite relaxing about the game. You’ll swipe, you’ll think, you’ll swipe again. But the further you get into the experience, the more you realise that there’s something rather shallow about it.
The challenge here is almost non-existent. In fact, if you swipe all four directions one after the other in a constant loop, you’ll find yourself completing level after level with no problem whatsoever. And once that happens, a lot of the joy goes out of the experience.
It feels a bit like cheating, like you’ve peeled back a facade and found the decidedly uninteresting mechanics that underpin the whole thing. There are different kinds of blobs, but it all becomes meaningless when you can breeze through the experience without paying any attention whatsoever.
Blixi could have been one of those soothing, engaging puzzles that you play to wind down after a hectic day. Instead it’s the sort of game that you’re going to glance at and then forget entirely.