Friday, May 1, 2009

Modulo. ($1.99, version 1.0)

iTunes Link.

Lite Version.

Modulo is a strategic puzzle game. You have different wheels with one arrow pointing outwards. Your goal is to have all wheels pointing up.

When you start the game you are taken to the first level. It's a very busy and beautifully drawn game screen. On the top you can see the level you are on. On the upper left there's the lowest number of moves you have taken to complete the level (if previously completed) and on the upper right is the current number of moves. In between these three items there's a level reset button. On the bottom left there's a help button, on the bottom center there's a button to take you back to the level section menu, and on the bottom right there's the options buttons.

Options include on/off and sliders for the music and sound effects, a button to view more games by the same developer, a game reset button that erases all your progress in the entire game, and a credits button. Pressing the options button again takes you back to the game. The help includes some basic game instructions, and pressing help again takes you back to the game. The levels button takes you to the difficulty selection screen (and pressing the levels button again surprisingly takes you back to the game).

I was surprised to see levels, as I got through Easy into Amateur before I got to the levels screen. You could finish the entire game and never see the levels screen. There are six levels of difficulty: Easy, Amateur, Experienced, Seasoned, Adept, and Auteur. Each difficulty level has 30 puzzles, which means 180 puzzles total.

That's it for menu and options. On to the gameplay. You have a certain number of wheels on the board and you have to point all of them up. There's a catch, though. Some balls are connected to other balls, and if you move a certain ball one way another ball might move another way. The trick is to figure out the relationship between the different wheels. A strategy I use is to figure out which wheels don't affect the other wheels - I leave these for last. Also try to figure out which wheels affect other wheels but are not affected by other wheels, and do these first.

Through trial and error you can probably solve all puzzles. There's a lot of replayability because you can always try to solve each puzzle with less and less moves. Depending on how many moves you take the game either congratulates you or lets you know you can do better. I like that there's not a maximum number of moves because it lets me relax and just focus on solving the puzzle.

When you exit the game screen by either pressing Home on the iDevice or by using the levels button your progress in a level is not saved but this is not a deal-breaker as each level is not terribly long. If you exit out of the app and open it again you are taken back to the start of the level you last played.

The music is one of the best I've hard on the app store. There are clicking noises as you turn the wheels and a noise like a lamp turning on when you place the wheel in the correct position. There are some sound effects as you go through the menus.

The entry price is well worth a few hours of entertainment, and the game is polished and has great music. Since you can solve it by trial-and-error it's not inaccessible for the casual player and an unlimited number of moves makes this a great relaxing game when you have a few minutes to kill. Recommended. And you can always try the Lite version first.

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