Posted: March 17, 2014
Puzzle games in my eyes need a few things to be entertaining, addicting tests of your wits. They should be easy to pick up, with basic rules that don’t require lengthy tutorials or wordy instructions to understand. They ought to be dynamic, built on a framework that can be easily reworked into a continual stream of interesting puzzles that don’t become repetitive despite being similar if not identical in design. And lastly I prefer them to be easy to pick up and put down, like a coffee table book that you can spend a few minutes or hours passing the time with, then set it back down for an unknown amount of time and still find it just as enjoyable the next time you look at it.
LYNE seems to have unknowingly looked into my head and designed itself around these ideals, forming into a simple but exemplary brain teaser that I fell in love with from the very first screen. It’s a relaxing yet engrossing experience that excels at putting you in a zen like state as you clear puzzles and feel especially clever each and every time you do.
In essence, LYNE can best be thought of as a nonlinear connect-the-dots. You’re given two points that you must connect, while going through all of the requisite points between them, but the order in which you do so is entirely up to you. There isn’t necessarily only one way to solve a puzzle, and this freedom is but one reason I find LYNE hugely refreshing compared to so many other puzzle games. As you progress you begin to deal with multiple colors, points you must repeatedly run through, and more complex designs that have you connecting lines like a mad cartographer, which from the outside looking on would seem highly complex and difficult.
But, it never feels that way when you’re playing. The fundamentals are so basic that it feels almost innate, like you’ve already been doing this for years. Something about LYNE clicked with me instantly, allowing me to breeze through level after level without an abundance of difficulty but leaving that satisfying feeling of accomplishment when you flex your frontal lobe and solve a problem. The soothing ambient sounds and mellow colors do well to elicit a calm mindset, making this an ideal way to let loose of your tension and unwind as you focus on the problem at hand.
In a similar way that many treat Sudoku and crossword puzzles, LYNE has something of a habitual quality; something you can go back to every day to help keep you sharp and relax after the more trying events of a day. The structure is tailor made for this style of play, with puzzles grouped into sets that are just long enough to be rewarding but not fatiguing. Random daily puzzles (though you’d never know that do to them being just as well designed as the base sets) provide consistent new content, at which point I can think of little more I could ask for.
Brilliant, Thomas Wowker, brilliant.