LYNE takes the basic concept of shapes and connecting them, and fools you into thinking it's going to be easy. The game is simple. You begin with two triangles with borders, and one solid variant. The triangles with the borders are the beginning and the end. The solid shape in between is where you use a line to connect all of them. And so goes the premise of LYNE. Get from the first bordered shape, to the next. That's it.
You start off with a very nice intro, where a square gently rises to the middle of the screen. It is slowly stretched into a line, and is pulled vertically across the screen, then moves apart to reveal the title sequence. You have the options of Begin or Daily. If you begin, you are brought to your sets. Sets are labeled alphabetically, with A being the first set you must solve. There are 25 puzzles within each set.
In an irregular hexagon is the set and the letter that represents it, like A, and a 0/25. As you solve puzzles, the number on the left will go up, until all 25 are solved, and it becomes 25/25. You will be rewarded with a shape when everything is said and done, and then you move on to the next set in the sequence.
The rules of the game aren't hard to follow. You must make a line. You must connect shapes. You cannot cross lines already created, and you must begin and end with a bordered shape. If ever you find that you've screwed up, simply press one of the shapes to reset your lines. No fuss, nothing complicated. Or, so the game would like you to believe.
Where LYNE begins to get complex is when it starts adding various shapes to the mix. The next in line for LYNE is a diamond. In the beginning, the shapes are segregated. You connect triangles with triangles, and diamonds with diamonds. Easy. Then, the linking box comes into play. This is where the game starts to blow your freaking mind!
The linking box, as I like to call it, is a hexagonal shape, with small diamonds in the center. The mini-diamonds light up when a line goes through it. At first, there's only one of these linking boxes, with two mini-diamonds. As the game progresses, the number increases, and the amount of mini-diamonds you need to light via connection also goes up. So, you may need to weave through a single linking both three or four times before you can end the round. This allows you to link various shapes, and cross different paths. If you don't, you can't move on.
Once you finally connect everything, and the puzzle is solved, the lines and shapes become solid white. It creates some pretty elaborate designs, and the screen shifts to the right, and another puzzle is loaded. And so it goes. You figure out how to navigate through every shape, and it's on to the next mind bender.
LYNE is a testament to graphic design. I love how simple, and basic the overall look is, but it still has a complex level of color theory and shape. It's very aesthetically pleasing to look at. The colors are just right, the shapes are spaced just enough so that everything doesn't look cluttered, and there isn't too much empty space. Speaking of space, the negative space around the puzzles, with the faded background of muted tones and shapes, is also a great touch. Very impressive.
The gameplay is really fun. It's challenging, but so freaking deceptive in its simplicity, that you find yourself trying to defeat the puzzle, for the sake of not succumbing to how basic it is! And the more you play, the more puzzles seem to resolve themselves. I mean, I wasn't sure what I was doing most of the time, yet the puzzles would eventually just connect. Line wise, I mean. I guess mentally, too?
The music and sounds are oddly comforting. The gentle ring when you finish a puzzle, or that dull hum when connecting shapes, all give a sense of calm. Everything about this game screams relaxation. It's a game you play when you want to unwind and clear your thoughts. Well? More on that in a bit.
There's a lot of replayability to have here. Aside from the normal group of puzzles, there's also daily challenges that change everyday. These are different, randomly generated sets that allow your mind to exercise, with more puzzles, long after you've finished the main sets.
Now, back to relaxing while playing. Too much time playing LYNE will eventually start to make your brain hurt. Mine did. However, I probably made it harder than it should be, but my mind is just not cut out for puzzle games. This isn't a fault of LYNE, at all. I'm just not a puzzle game person. Plus, look at this!
Now, while I did say that puzzles will solve themselves, you eventually hit that wall, and you'll be confronted with a puzzle that just doesn't have a solution. You'll sit and stare at the flashing ring that emanates from the objects you missed. It can be frustrating, and I found myself quitting, so I could gather my thoughts. Once again, I'm terrible at puzzle games. But after a breather, you come back to try again. You always come back.
Lastly, I'm not sure how I feel about the transition between puzzles. It kind of made me dizzy? Once again, that's due to my weak stomach, and no fault of the game, at all. With all the graphic design beauty, I think having the shapes fall, and bounce into place, or some type of graphic transition, would have been more suitable to LYNE. Everything about the game, aside from the difficulty --which is subjective-- is so artistically perfect, that the transition feels a bit out of place.
LYNE is a deceptively complex puzzle game, wrapped in the enigma of simplicity and beautiful design. You can truly lose yourself to this game, spending hours of mind bending gymnastics on one single puzzle, just trying to get the lines to connect. If you love puzzles, or games that require a lot of mental energy, LYNE is the game for you.
Review copy courtesy of thomasbowker.com