Version Reviewed: 1.3.1
Device Reviewed On: iPad Air
Graphics / Sound Rating:
Replay Value Rating:
It’s really telling that match-3 puzzlers were considered somewhat stagnant even before Candy Crush Saga, legally or not, gobbled up everything. Therefore, even the tiniest tweak to the genre can be a breath of fresh air for those tired of boring, square, treat-filled grids. Perplexity, with its minor but appreciated twists, is that breath of fresh air.
Perplexity’s most defining feature its circular puzzle layout. Colorful gems are arranged on a series of rings that radiate outward from the center. Players then rotate these rings to create matching vertical columns of icons or swap gems with ones above or below them to create horizontal sets of matching icons. When gems are cleared the remaining gems then fall through the gaps in the board, but the gaps are spaced out in such a way that prevents overly easy, infinite combos. Again, it’s not the most drastic change to the match-3 formula, but it feels different enough to have an identity of its own. Having multiple moves at one’s disposal will cause players to approach puzzles from a variety of angles, and the act of carefully aligning winning combinations through rotation feels satisfyingly similar to cracking a safe.
There’s a timed Score Attack mode and an endless Zen mode, but Perplexity's real meat comes from its mission-based Voyage mode. Here players tackle dozens of specific puzzle challenges like “clear a board with only five moves” or “earn a certain score.” Later missions make great use of the game’s special pieces with effects like exploding the gems around them or clearing a whole ring of gems. Taking place in cities like Paris and Monaco, these missions also highlight the game’s art nouveau visual style. However, while the 1900s French café aesthetic and soundtrack are quite pleasant in a Professor Layton kind of way, it’s a little disappointing that there’s virtually no difference between the New York puzzles and the Barcelona puzzles.
Still, a slight lack of visual diversity - as well as a few too many pop-up ads - isn’t the worst problem a game can have. Anyone looking for a new take on the well-worn puzzle genre should give Perplexity a spin.