App Reviewed on: iPad Air 2
User Interface Rating:
Replay Value Rating:
Incidence may look like a minimalist golfing game like Desert Golfing, but don't let that fool you. The game's description bills it as a “billiardsvania” game (though I'm not sure where the “vania” portion fits into the game). Either way, Incidence doesn't feel like a golf or billiards game. Instead, it offers up 100 levels of puzzles that can quickly become frustrating because of how unforgivingly minimal the game is in design.
The hard six
In Incidence, you aim and shoot a ball using a drag-and-release control method that feels natural for golf and billiards games. What sets this particular game apart though is that dragging your finger further back from the ball doesn't increase the ball's power at all. Instead, players only choose the direction the ball should go in and release.
Once the ball is in motion, it continues moving until it has bounced off of a hard surface six times. On that sixth hit, the ball freezes in place and you can shoot it again. On every level, you get a limited number of shots to bounce your ball into a goal or you have to start the level over again.
The challenge in Incidence starts off by simply presenting players with strange geometry or odd angles to make aiming for the perfect shot difficult. As you progress through the levels though, additional elements get added into levels, like spikes, bouncy walls, and more.
These elements add a dimension to Incidence beyond just angling your ball right. Strategic considerations need to be made on how to position your ball for the next shot while also preserving the number of shots you have left to complete the level.
While the additional puzzle elements of Incidence add a satisfying strategic layer to the game, its minimal design could do a lot more to make engaging with these systems and experimenting with them a lot less frustrating.
When playing Incidence, the only tools you have at your disposal are the ability to shoot or start over. There's no way to readjust your finger once you've started aiming, no tools to show you where your previous shots were launched from, and no undo button of any kind.
The lack of these features wouldn't be a huge deal if Incidence wasn't such a demandingly precise game, or if it at least didn't always make you start from the beginning of a level whenever you mess up. With this being the case though, it makes playing the trickier levels an annoying game of trial and error.
The bottom line
The core puzzle mechanics of Incidence are really clever and make for a unique puzzle experience. Unfortunately though, experiencing that stuff is hard to enjoy because Incidence is so unforgiving that it lacks a lot of nice usability features of other puzzle games. This could be because Incidence is trying to be truly minimal in design, but the game is worse for it.