So this game’s “deceptively simple but surprisingly complex”? I bet it’s a puzzle game!
So what does this one do?
You get a grid on which various shapes are placed. All you have to do is join strings of identical shapes (starting and ending with those that have a white centre), without crossing any of the lines. Because as we all learned from Ghostbusters, you never cross the lines (streams).
That all sounds a bit familiar…
It does. Lyne doesn’t really do anything new, and we’ve seen a bunch of somewhat similar titles elsewhere. But innovation isn’t always the hallmark of a great game — sometimes just doing something brilliantly, with oodles of style, polish and panache, elevates your creation above its contemporaries.
And I take it that’s the case here — or are you just hallucinating again after too many games of Boson X?
There’s no funny business going on here (as you’ll be all too aware from our terrible puns) — we really are in awe about how lovely Lyne is.
As you drag paths across the shapes, they lazily spin and emit a little robotic panpipe noise. The strict grid — all 90- and 45- degree angles — results in a beautiful kind of stark minimalism, but also sets a framework that allows the game to start off easy but gradually become more complex.
The first level’s just about connecting two shapes, but you’re soon battling junction boxes that require you to enter them a specific number of times.
And for a game primarily designed for the touchscreen, Lyne feels pleasingly tactile, with shapes and paths responding immediately to your touch, and enabling you to temporarily pause one route while you try to figure out another.
READ MORE: Drop Everything and Try: BOSON X
Touchscreen? Uh-oh. I bet this is only available for the bloody iPhone, right?
Nope. Lyne is on the iPhone (and iPad), but the developer loves everyone equally, because it’s also available for Android, Windows Phone, and also for Windows, Mac and Linux computers. OK, so maybe he doesn’t love everyone equally — sorry, Amiga owners, but it really is time to switch platforms.
OK, sounds good. But what if I get stuck, or, conversely, eat ‘brain food’ and fly through the entire game in six seconds. What then, eh?
The developer’s wisely avoided the painfully linear progress model found in many puzzle games – instead of completing one level to unlock the next, they’re made available in batches of 25.
Also, of the hundred or so we’ve so far tried, all are possible to complete in a minute or two if you’re willing to experiment and rapidly iterate.
But if you are some kind of genius with a penchant for minimal puzzle games starring geometric shapes, you’re also in luck: once you’ve completed the first two sets of puzzles in Lyne, you unlock daily procedurally generated challenges.
Bucking the trend of modern mobile games, you also don’t have to pay extra for them. Now we really do wonder if we’re hallucinating…