Version Reviewed: 1.1
Device Reviewed On: iPad Air
Graphics / Sound Rating:
Replay Value Rating:
Imagine the mental satisfaction of solving a good puzzle combined with the tactile satisfaction of unwrapping a present. That's the satisfaction Unfolder provides. With so many puzzle games out there using so many tired concepts, finding one that's both new and great is always worth celebrating.
Unfolder is a decidedly minimal game with stark, gray, backgrounds and menus. It looks almost like office training, and the puzzles themselves follow the same style. Each screen just starts with a flat triangle and a white outline some distance away. Players can customize the color of the triangles, but that's about it as far as visual flourishes go. The look is no-nonsense and effectively gets out of the way of the puzzle solving. Gameplay is king here, as it should be.
And what gameplay it is. Players tap on the screen to unfold the triangle in a certain direction, producing a mirrored version of itself along a particular axis. The goal is to create a chain of triangles so that the last one falls perfectly into the outline. This starts out simple enough when the outline is only one or two obvious moves away. However, soon players will need to unfold upwards of a dozen times to succeed. Also, because the puzzles take place on pure empty space, there's no grid to reference. This is particularly fiendish when triangles will start slightly overlapping with the outline instead of aligning exactly - forcing players to reset and find a new solution. Fortunately, the game displays the shortest amount of moves needed to solve the puzzle as a helpful guide. Especially desperate players can even pay for hints as to what the final few moves are and work backwards from there.
One of the only other puzzle games that require this kind of spatial logic and reasoning is the similarly geometric Art Style: Boxlife on the DSi. But Unfolder's execution still feels unique. While there are only 30 pre-made puzzles, the puzzle generator provides a virtually infinite amount of content at a variety of difficulty levels. However, the game presents its best feature first: a time attack mode that shows how great the hook is when done in rapid succession. Like any great puzzle game, it's truly difficult to put down because of how enjoyably addictive is it.
Unfolder is about more than just unfolding triangles; it's about unfolding one's mind. That's pretty high praise for a free puzzle game.