Relix puzzle game fits in nicely on your iPhone

Jun 29, 2010
Games

For as much as I enjoy puzzle titles like Boxed In, they’re rather one-note in concept. Move blocks to specific locations, exit the level, start again. Developer Mark Mengelt seemed to realize this with Relix, a game that expands greatly on the “push blocks around” concept with added gameplay elements that mostly work to provide […]

For as much as I enjoy puzzle titles like Boxed In, they’re rather one-note in concept. Move blocks to specific locations, exit the level, start again. Developer Mark Mengelt seemed to realize this with Relix, a game that expands greatly on the “push blocks around” concept with added gameplay elements that mostly work to provide a little variety to the Boxed In format.

Relix has you attempting to move like-patterned blocks together on a platformer screen set to look like a temple. That sounds very easy, but becomes progressively more challenging when you have to figure out how to make sure all three of your “heart” patterned blocks can make it together without the first two touching and leaving the third alone; all the while, there are other shaped blocks standing in your way that you’ll have to negotiate.

The mental gymnastics required to solve some of these puzzles are very different from the Boxed In puzzles, and it’s tough to say whether they’re really harder, but they’re certainly quite entertaining.

There is also a greater variety of gameplay in Relix, from stationary blocks that raise and lower, which you can use to move your pattern blocks, to platforms that crumble after a certain amount of use, making your every move precious.

Even better, and something I hope gets implemented in any future Boxed In sequel, is a move counter at the top left of the screen. In order to earn full credit for passing a stage, you have to complete it in under a specific amount of moves. Sure, you won’t pay attention to it when a level is giving you hell and all you want to do is move on, but it adds another layer of challenges to an already very challenging app.

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It’s unfortunate, then, that given all that makes Relix a fun game, it nearly grinds to a halt because of the controls. You’re not a specific character in Relix, so your God-like figure merely pushes blocks to and fro on your own physical whim. You tap a lock to select it and when it highlights, you can move it.

This becomes a problem when you’re thinking fast and trying to quickly swipe blocks around. Often, you won’t “catch” the block you tapped, and you’ll go to move in and accidentally end up moving the last block you touched. This happens way more than it should. It feels like the detection is off or just too slow. While you’ll adjust after some time out of necessity, there must be a better way to control this thing so it’s more responsive.

Controls aside, this is a very nice step in a new direction for Mengelt, and for app puzzle fans, this is probably another easy purchase. It is not as immediately lovable as Boxed In, but give it some time and get to the more difficult puzzles, and you’ll find quite a rewarding experience.

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Dan Kricke

Dan Kricke has been playing with electronics and writing about them for years. He loved his Sega Dreamcast and now the PlayStation 3. On the iPhone, he's a fan of sports apps and anything that offers new music.

 

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