Sep 16, 2011


Puzzle games, puzzle games... puzzle games are a crowded room on mobile devices. Yes, here's another puzzle game reviewed for a crowded market of puzzle games, but this one, I believe, offers something different. Refraction is a game all about light. Have you ever seen those board games like Laser Battle or Khet in which you're moving your pieces in a chess like fashion in an attempt to fire a laser beam at your opponent's stronghold? Refraction is those games converted into a puzzle style game and more.

First thing, the instructions are well written and broken into steps which I really like. What I don't like is having to read them all before playing and Refraction, fortunately, does not make you do that. The game nicely and neatly shows you what you need to know as you play almost like an interactive tutorial. In the game each level has lasers firing various colored beams of light that must reach a target. You must then place various objects such as mirrors to bounce this light around to reach its destination to complete the level. If that was it I'd say it had been done before, but the game includes the concept of different light colors and prisms that can split (and combine!) the many colors of light. Furthermore, the prisms can be adjusted more like pins on an integrated circuit to choose what comes out of where based on an input (or inputs).

The graphics for the game consist of basic geometric shapes in a vector art format. Then again this game isn't geared at being a graphics or sound festival. The controls worked well although sometimes it was a bit cumbersome to remember that I had to choose toggle to select which output I'm adjusting on a prism. I think it would have been nice to allow me to just be able to touch and drag, but I do see potential challenges with that... especially on smaller screens. I also wonder if perhaps more common actions could have been used for some things such as the option of removing an object. Dragging it off of the screen makes more sense for deletion versus a double tap and would have been more intuitive.

qrcodeThe puzzles themselves scale well and didn't leave me feeing devoid of challenge while at the same time not overwhelming me. I've played through about a quarter of them so I've got a ways to go to complete the game's 120 levels. Each level also is said to allow for multiple solutions and you can take a screen shot of a level you've completed to put on the fridge or to show Mom. One of the things I like about the game is the pseudo-educational aspect of the idea of mixing and combining different wavelengths of light into colors and this all translates into a solid puzzle game. There's a free 20 level trial in the market or you can pay about $3 for the whole thing which I think is a tad on the steep side considering the competition for puzzle games. All in all I'm a fan. 4.5/5 stars.

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