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Quell Memento

For: iPhone   Also on: Android, iPad, PS Vita, Steam

This reminds me of a puzzle...

Product: Quell Memento | Developer: Fallen Tree Games | Publisher: Bulkypix | Format: iPhone | Genre: Puzzle | Players: 1 | Version: Europe | App version: 1.0
Quell Memento iPhone, thumbnail 1
At a first glance, you might assume you've played this simple puzzle game a million times before.

In each stage, you push these blue bubbles and they'll slide across the screen until they bounce up against a wall or barrier. It often means you need to plan ahead so you don't get yourself stuck or caught in an infinite loop.

But you've done that before, right? You've played these puzzles in a hundred iOS apps, and a thousand Flash games, and in the ice caves in Pokemon Gold.

Jog your memory

Still, Quell Memento does a stellar job at mixing up that formula. In the beginning, your job is simply to scoop all the pearls in each stage, but in others, you must turn all lights a certain colour by rubbing up against them.

Then you have to shine a laser-like beam on a handful of diamonds. Then you have to deal with a shadowy doppelgänger who mimics your every move.

All the while you'll avoid spikes, smash ice, sacrifice bubbles, shove crates, break blocks, flip switches, power batteries, prune roses, and zip through portals.

It's a dizzying rule-set that's constantly spiralling outwards until you're commanding multiple bubbles about a labyrinth-like level of different icons and objects. But every new mechanic is taught in such a natural and concise way that by that time you'll know intimately how they all work.

Nostalgia fest

That's all well and good, but the real differentiator is the way the game weaves in an affecting little story about love, loss, memory, and reflection around its gameplay.

Each chapter opens with an enigmatic voice clip from an unforthcoming narrator. And then certain levels contain dusty old photographs that you can clean up (with a quick rub of the touchscreen) to fill in the gaps of the story.

IAPs explained
You can unlock the solution to each puzzle in the game by paying coins. You'll earn these as you play, or you can buy them with in-app purchases (69p / 99c for 50, £1.49 / $1.99 for 150).

You should earn enough coins to help you bypass the stages that really scupper your progress.

Alternatively, you can buy a skeleton key (£1.99 / $2.99) to unlock any level, and bypass tricky stages. You can use this as many times as needed, but you should know it is the coward's way out.
You'll also notice that objects in the backgrounds between levels help you to sort through the elderly narrator's jumbled memories.

It's effectively presented and perfectly pleasant, but the story might be a touch too shallow for most players.

Just a moment

Also, the story elements are too few and far between, and I'd often forgotten what happened in the last snapshot by the time I finally stumbled upon the next. Plus, obvious opportunities to tie the mechanics of the game into the story beats you just witnessed are completely missed.

But while the simple story will disappear into your memory banks in no time, the puzzles will keep you entertained for weeks.

Not only are they packed in until the app is practically bursting at the seams - Quell Memento has over 100 single-screen levels, as well as hidden gems and a handful of tricky bonus stages - but you can also try to beat your score, and finish each level in as few moves as possible.

And each one of them is fiendishly clever, wonderfully complicated, and perilously addictive. This is a killer puzzle game from start to finish.
Quell Memento
Reviewer photo
Mark Brown | 24 May 2013
Quell Memento is a gem of a puzzle game, with armfuls of clever, elegant, and addictive levels. The story is nicely told, but a tad too simple to really be affecting
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