Developer: Crazy Labs
Price: FREE
Version Reviewed: 1.0
App Reviewed on: iPad 2

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

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

In the language of games, the words “simple” and “uncomplicated” – usually perfectly synonymous – come to possess vastly divergent definitions. A game can be simple in form and premise, with easily-grasped controls and clear rules and goals. Yet at the same time that very game can be wickedly complicated, providing a challenging, satisfying game experience. Primitives is one such simple, complicated little puzzle game.

IMG_0632Primitives uses a stark visual aesthetic to deliver its engaging, puzzling gameplay. The premise is perfectly simple (there’s that word again): using your finger, trace a path from your starting position to the endpoint of each small, single-screen stage. Your presence on the field is defined by a single geometric shape: either a circle, square, or triangle – the titular ‘Primitives’. As you swipe along, you will need to pass through stars in order to unlock future stages, though at a certain point you will not be able to proceed without paying to unlock more content. Otherwise, you need only manage to get from one end of the stage to the other, passing through the stars, never crossing your own path, before the timer runs out. Simple, right?

Where the game proves itself worthy of your time though, is once it begins adding complications: gears that turn when you move, gates that must be timed, color-coded barriers that limit your movement, and so on. With every new mechanic the game gets more complex, and though that fundamental simplicity never vanishes later stages can feel anything but uncomplicated.

IMG_0637Anti-frustration features abound – should you find yourself deadlocked, you can always tap along your path to return to that point, unwinding the clock and letting you take another crack at figuring out just how you could possibly get to the goal under the time limit while managing to get all the stars you need. The clock only runs while you move, so while there is a time limit you never actually need to rush. Rather, the game encourages you to study your path and make corrections. Everything about the game is laid out for you to see – any mistakes you make are simply (last one, I promise) your own fault.

Primitives is a great little game – challenging enough to keep a player engaged while never seeming impossible. It’s the kind of game that makes the most of its components, rather than loading itself down with unnecessary flashiness.

 

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