App Reviewed on: iPhone XR
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Doors: Paradox is one of the more straightforward puzzle box games I've played, and I don't mean this as a bad thing. Having isolated levels with only a limited number of interaction points in each one is actually really convenient for on-the-go puzzling where story or immersion aren't key. Doors: Paradox delivers exactly this kind of challenge in a package that looks and feels great while being well-paced.
Doors unlocked and opened
Doors: Paradox is a game about opening doors. Each level presents a floating diorama with a door in the middle of it. Your task is to open that door by activating a variety of mechanisms on the diorama, each of which take you one step closer to accessing and unlocking the door.
I say all this generally because the levels in Doors: Paradox are all themed, so the "mechanisms" and the things you do with them vary based on context. For example, levels in the sea-based level might involve on lighting up a lighthouse or putting together a jigsaw puzzle of an octopus, while the retrofuturistic ones have you assemble robots or play arcade games to move things forward.
Tap, tap, anybody home?
The way you control all of these interactions is through a simple tap. You can touch and drag to rotate the diorama, but tapping is how you can zoom in on designated points of interest and pick up items you might need to use elsewhere in a level. At any given time, there's only a small handful of possible points of interest and items in your inventory, making it tough to ever feel like you won't just stumble upon the next step in your puzzle journey.
If you do ever happen to be stumped, Doors: Paradox has a hint system that can set you back on the right path easily. The only thing this system won't help you with is locating gems, which are collectibles sprinkled throughout each level that can unlock some endgame puzzles if you manage to find all of them.
Unlock to unwind
Doors: Paradox isn't a terribly long game. It's levels take about 10-15 minutes or so to complete and the whole game (including unlocked levels) consists of 18 levels. Once you've beaten all the levels and found all of the gems, there's not much reason to return to Doors: Paradox, but I think that's totally ok. There's something to be said for a game that doesn't overstay its welcome, and I liked being able to play this game without ever feeling like it was growing repetitive or stale.
As a free-to-play game, Doors: Paradox is ad-supported and restricts free players to only the first half of its levels. This is a nice way to test out if you like the puzzles being offered here, but the best user experience comes when paying $ 4.99 to disable ads and get access to all levels available. As a value proposition, it might not sound worth it given Doors: Paradox's length, but it didn't bother me in the slightest. I'm happy to pay for shorter games if they feel complete, which this one does.
The bottom line
Doors: Paradox takes its diorama puzzle box concept to fun places while being careful never to feel repetitive or overly challenging. Unless you are looking for a mobile game to obsess over or play over long stretches of time, you'd do well to check out this relaxing and creative puzzle experience.