reky review
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reky review

Our Review by Campbell Bird on October 10th, 2019
Rating: starstarstarblankstarblankstar :: COLORFUL BUT CLUNKY
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reky is a puzzle game that is less elegant than it appears.

Developer: beyondthosehills

Price: $3.99
Version: 1.0.1
App Reviewed on: iPhone XR

Graphics/Sound Rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar
User Interface Rating: starstarhalfstarblankstarblankstar
Gameplay Rating: starstarstarblankstarblankstar
Replay Value Rating: starstarhalfstarblankstarblankstar

Overall Rating: starstarstarblankstarblankstar

reky is a super stlyish and minimal puzzler where you have to maneuver a dot to a portal exit. The game itself excels in its presentation. It’s got some pretty neat puzzle design, too. There is a problem, though: reky isn’t quite as seamless and elegant an experience as it appears.

Echoes of chrome

Like a lot of other puzzlers on the App Store, reky consists of ever-more-challenging levels that rate your ability to overcome them. There are some neat mechanics at play to create these challenges, like the ability to change which parts of a level are interactive, but it’s otherwise a design you’ve seen before.

What really sets reky apart though is its look. The entire game uses bold line drawings of plain, geometric objects set against a flat, colored background. It sounds boring, but the result is really striking. It reminds me of the first time I saw Echochrome. There’s just something about this aesthetic that is really appealing and makes you want to play around in it.

Pesky poking

Much like its stripped down look, reky has a really straightforward control scheme. You can tap to move your dot anywhere that’s accessible, and you can move colored blocks in levels by swiping on them. If ever you want to change which blocks are colored, you simply tap while your dot is over a colored block to suck the color out of it, and tap again on a new block to release the color (and interactivity) into the new block.

Using these mechanics is simple enough, at least on paper, but reky makes performing its simple mechanics unnecessarily difficult. There are times when playing that reky doesn’t seem to fully register taps to absorb or inject color into blocks. The game isn’t really reaction-based, so there doesn’t need to be a whole lot of precision and timing involved with solving puzzles, but it can still be annoying when reky doesn’t seem to be registering your inputs appropriately.

Simple, but not elegant

In addition to control woes, reky also suffers from a lack of a quality undo button. In complicated puzzle games, the ability to undo is practically necessary. reky happens to have an undo button, but it’s not great in the sense that it only allows you to only take back your last move one time. Any attempts to go back further just make the button unresponsive.

The result of such a system means you’ll be restarting puzzles in reky a lot. This is ok in some situations, particularly if you want to see if you can beat a level in fewer moves than before. But, the idea that there are whole swaths of puzzles in reky that you’ll have to restart just because you aren’t familiar with them yet and already made a bunch of moves feels like a bad solution to a pretty simple problem. Just give players more undos! It helps with game flow and encourages players to stick with it.

The bottom line

reky is beautiful, but those amazing looks are covering some the game’s blemishes. Unresponsive controls and reliance on restarts are best avoided in puzzle games, yet reky has both. Because of this, I’m not so sure reky is the easiest game to recommend, even though it does have some solidly enjoyable puzzle design.

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