Scalak – Warping Perspectives & warped Enjoyment

Jun 27, 2018
Puzzle

Scalak is a puzzle game about warping perspectives and manipulating shapes.

In Scalak, you are presented with shapes that have been broken up to remove some pieces of their outward faces. To start with, they’re simple shapes such as triangles or squares, but as the game progresses, the different shapes get more and more abstract.

You drag the shape pieces onto the main shape to attempt to close the outer surface area. Sometimes this is as simple as matching two Yin and Yang shapes to make a circle, but other times it’s as complicated as you can imagine.

Scalak requires an extraordinary amount of spatial awareness and shape recognition, but it gets exponentially more confusing when you add shape directional movement into the mix.

Scalak requires an extraordinary amount of spatial awareness and shape recognition, but it gets exponentially more confusing when you add shape directional movement into the mix.

By clicking and dragging along the center shape you can move it right and left, up and down. This is to facilitate those shape facings that are set to a particular angle, which forces you to ensure you’ve got the right part of the shape facing the right direction.

What makes this gameplay combination interesting is that it creates the possibility for you to solve the majority of the puzzle in the wrong way. There are times when you’ll find yourself unable to finish the puzzle due to the fact that the remaining shapes definitely don’t work together. You will swiftly realize that it’s because one of your earlier placements worked temporarily, but not for the benefit of the whole puzzle.

Scalak Review | Appolicious

Scalak is a puzzle game about warping perspectives and manipulating shapes: http://appolicious.com/scalak-warping-perspectives-warped-enjoyment

This kind of intricacy is difficult to plan for, as it requires an extensive knowledge of both game theory and puzzle design, so the developers should be applauded for their attention to detail and the quality of their puzzles.

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That isn’t to say Scalak is the perfect game or anything, however. Scalak suffers from one key problem, and that is frustration.

Scalak suffers from one key problem, and that is frustration.

These kinds of puzzles are certainly challenging and can indeed be very rewarding, but what tends to happen is that you find yourself feeling trapped by your own inability to solve the puzzle. This happens when you realise you’ve made a wrong move at some point earlier in the puzzle, forcing you to have to restart the level or un-assign pieces.

This also happens when you fail to solve it, instead faced with a number of shapes that don’t seem to fit together in any logical way, leaving you reeling and anxiety-riddled,  desperate for a way to solve this puzzle, oh please someone solve it!

Scalak is certainly an interesting game – any kind of puzzle game that so plays with your expectations when considering perspective and shape alignment is fascinating to see. It is mesmerizing to play when first starting the game, but it leaves the player far too overwhelmingly frustrated when trying to enjoy themselves.

Were Scalak to be less pervasively irritating and frustrating, it would have the promise of an excellent puzzle game. As it stands however, it’s just too annoying and finnickity to play enjoyably.

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