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iPad  header logo

Puzzle Retreat

For: iPad   Also on: Android, iPhone

Just slip away

Product: Puzzle Retreat | Developer: The Voxel Agents | Publisher: The Voxel Agents | Format: iPad | Genre: Puzzle | Players: 1 | Version: Europe
 
Puzzle Retreat iPad, thumbnail 1
Video games can be seriously stressful. Most are designed to resist you, to punish your mistakes, and to kill your little digital avatar.

Puzzle Retreat sets out specifically to do the opposite. As the name suggests, this is designed as a virtual spa weekend, gently taxing you into a state of Zen-like bliss.

That's the premise, anyway. In practice it's simply a tidy, understated little puzzler that could perhaps do with ratcheting up the excitement a little.

Escape the grid

Faced with a grid of square holes carved into a wooden block, you have to fill each and every one with ice. This is achieved by sliding ice blocks from their fixed locations around the grid.

Your default ice block will fill one adjacent slot, depending on the direction you slide it. Other blocks can fill multiple slots in a row.

One vital trick that you'll be introduced to early on is the way these sliding blocks will slip over any existing ice blocks, thus extending their range. As such, levels soon become cascading, criss-crossing affairs as you look to activate each block in the right sequence.

Cool customer

In less skilled hands this could soon descend into tiresome trial-and-error gameplay, but to The Voxel Agents's credit Puzzle Retreat usually enables you to work through a solution without resorting to random shuffling.

Where the game falls down is in its lack of variety and excitement. While there are a couple more extra elements stirred in as you progress - such as diverting arrow blocks and fire blocks that melt ice blocks - the level design is pretty uniform.

The backgrounds retain their minimalistic wood-on-wood look, which gets pretty dull pretty quickly. Also, while the core puzzles are well thought-out and the core mechanic is solid, once you've played through 20 or so levels it really does feel like you've seen much of what the game has to offer.

Still, this is an assured puzzle game that will doubtless keep many a gamer blissfully slipping and sliding their way to a calm heart.


 
Puzzle Retreat
Reviewer photo
Jon Mundy | 20 February 2013
Puzzle Retreat is a well-conceived casual puzzler whose only flaws are a lack of spark and variety
 
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