Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPad
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The Line HD shows that there are some new ideas out there for games - that there is some hope for something that can shift the paradigm, if only a little. At its heart, The Line HD is a hybrid of a platforming game and touchy-feely character manipulation game (think Lemmings as an archetype of this sort of gameplay), but it is well-imagined, designed and implemented. In short, it's the sort of indie game that Apple's App Store ecosystem thrives on.
In The Line HD you control - guess what? - a line! Not just any line, however, but one named Eddy who arises from a typical line on the screen like some benign boil or pimple - only cuter. Your job is to help Eddy get from the starting point to the end point on each of several puzzle levels by using a virtual pencil, eraser and Eddy's special fire and ice powers. The pencil allows you, with some limitations, to create new lines for Eddy to travel on. These can bridge small gaps or connect larger segments of the puzzle, but each line has a limit in length that cannot be changed. The eraser does exactly what you think it does - it allows you t oerase sections of the puzzle to help Eddy get to his goal faster or avoid one of the many hazards he faces along his journey. Tapping the fire icon speeds Eddy up (necessary to avoid traps in later puzzles) and the ice icon freezes our little friend/line/pimple/thingie in place to keep him out of harm's way.
The presentation of The Line HD may seem spare and unimpressive at first, but I actually thought of it as actively embracing Apple's overall design scheme of elegant simplicity. Music and sound effects are spot-on and clever, and the visual design never pulls focus away from the primary goal of saving Eddy and getting him to the next obstacle.
The game has a learning curve, so be warned that you're going to need to chuck some of your preconceived notions of how logic puzzles must be approached. I struggled even with the very first level - not because it is badly designed, mind you - just because it took a while for me to see how Eddy's line-world works. Once you get the hang of it, it's great fun and a real logical challenge.
So here's to a new year and to games from developers such as this, who continue to push the boundaries of what a game can and should be. The Line HD will draw you in; no doubt about it.