Developer: Electric Top Hat
Price: $1.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★★
Game Controls Rating: ★★★★☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★☆
User Interface Rating: ★★★★☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★★☆☆

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

In my experience, the best puzzle games take a simple concept and gradually twist it into a complex experience. Modulo follows that rule to a T. In this game of spinning, interconnected gears, looks are deceiving—the apparently simple premise soon becomes a complicated puzzle that will have you pondering.

Modulo dumps you right into the game (a fact that I’m not overly fond of), but it’s easy to get started! Just spin the colorful gears by tapping them, and once you have all of them pointing green-side up, you’re done! The only catch is that some gears will cause others to turn, too, creating a web of finicky relationships. As you progress, more gears and connections are added. Oh, and you can’t see the connections—trial and error is the only way to figure out which gears affect each other. A good-sized reset button at the top, however, provides a quick remedy if you use an excessive number of moves.

img_0006Modulo does keep track of your number of moves, but it has no real bearing on the gameplay unless you want to challenge yourself. For the record: I do enjoy completing puzzles in as few moves possible, and I would have loved to have predetermined goals. But while Modulo will save your “high score” (well, the low score, really), it won’t tell you the minimum number of moves required for each level. It does give you hints, however. The silly congratulatory message at the end varies from “Member of Mensa Are we?” to “Best Score For Level! But more Kirk than Spock!” to “Best Score For Level! But not great Try this level again later!” The message you get corresponds with how well you’ve done.

If you noticed some grammatical quirks in the quotes, it wasn’t my keyboard spazzing. Modulo, for all of its charm, has a proliferation of minor errors in spelling and capitalization (such “Your” instead of “You’re”). For a puzzle of such polish, the devs should have paid more attention to basic text. My other complaints about Modulo include the lack of a “least possible moves” display, the inability to play my own music, and the reliance on trial-and-error to figure out each puzzle. An undo button wouldn’t go amiss, even if it only worked for one move; also, I’d love an option to view the total percentage of puzzles completed. The developers should also add some more puzzles once Modulo’s been on the market for a while, because I can see myself exhausting the current library.

img_0011But all of those criticisms ignore the meat of the title: the puzzles themselves. While 180 puzzles isn’t enough to permanently sate my appetite, they’re all quite fun. There are a variety of difficulty levels to keep you entertained, and none of the puzzles are locked. (If you keep breezing through the puzzles, the game prods you to advance a level.) Modulo is addicting, and it’s got the key mechanics that will keep you coming back for more. It’s a good mix of logic and luck, which makes for a fun time.

The presentation in Modulo is top-notch. I love the artwork, and the peppy soundtrack helps you lose track of time. The animations are smooth and look great, and the wood theme is wonderful.

Modulo is definitely one of the better puzzle games I’ve seen in a while. It’s fun, simple, addicting, and just complex enough to keep you hooked. While I hope that the devs at Electric Top Hat (jeez, I love that name) add some more features to the game and a bit more polish, Modulo is a worthwhile buy as it is. Fans of Subway Shuffle and other puzzles should find something to love here, and there’s a lite version, too. Let’s hope that this hidden gem emerges into the mainstream world of the App Store!

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