Developer: Sompom
Price: FREE
Version Reviewed: 1.0.0
Device Reviewed On: iPad Air

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★½☆
Playtime Rating: ★★★½☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★★½☆

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

Don’t worry, EA isn’t bringing their maligned game download platform to iOS devices. This Origin is a simple little puzzle game about moving blocks around. However, while it won’t saddle players with ridiculous DRM, the teasing nature of its gameplay might still leave them dissatisfied.

IMG_0033[1]IMG_0037[1]Squares of different colors are arranged on a white background, brought to life through a sharp, minimalist art style. Swiping in different directions shifts a row or column, causing squares that go off the screen to come back in from the opposite side. For every block color, there are also two corresponding circles somewhere along the outside edge of the puzzle. The goal is to arrange the blocks so that each pair of circles is connected by a chain of their respective blocks. The best advice is to just focus on making one color chain work and tweak the strategy from there if the others don’t immediately fall into place as well.

That’s kind of an esoteric description, but Origin is much easier to grasp in practice. In fact, players will have to be able to see a puzzle and visually map out its answer very quickly because they only get a few moves. There’s little room for experimentation without restarting. While the most simple and obvious puzzles must be beaten with one swipe, the largest and most complex puzzles still only allow around five. The strict limit can be enjoyable in its efficiency.

IMG_0034[1]IMG_0036[1]However, it also means that most puzzles can be beaten in seconds, making it slightly less impressive that there are hundreds of levels. Earlier puzzles are so easy they just feel perfunctory instead of intellectually stimulating, especially once they start repeating the same handful of layout ideas. Later, harder level designs actually do show frequent flashes of inspiration, but by then the game starts winding down just as finally starts going.

Origin has an interesting mechanic that, when it works, really works. But unlike the best puzzle games, players will find it unfortunately easy to avoid getting lost in.

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