Energy Cycle – What We Think:
Energy Balance was a game that came with a deep and gratifying puzzle mechanics, but a story that felt out of place and badly written. With Energy Cycle, developers Sometimes You are trying to make a game more about simple but fun puzzles. This makes for a better game than its predecessor in some ways, and a less interesting one in others.
The first thing that hit me with Energy Cycle is that they have completely removed the story and gone right into the puzzling part, which I greatly appreciate. No more trying to understand a weird story that doesn’t really relate to core gameplay in any meaningful way.
The game is played like Othello. Instead of math problem like Energy Balance had, there are colored balls that switch color when you click them. If they are next to other balls, they will all switch color. The idea is to get all the balls to the same color to move to the next mission.
On top of this, they have made a number of different play modes. First off, we have the mission mode, in which you move through puzzles that get harder and harder as they come.
There is also a Time Attack mode, in which you play level after level with a time limit; completing one level grants you more time. Time Attack feels like a great mobile game, combining fast reflexes with quick thinking, and was the mode I ended up playing the most, especially against a friend.
There is also a level editor to make the game last longer and, while it is easy to use and adds length to the game, it just adds more of the same. The puzzles are too like one another to add any more real fun.
The core missions feel almost identical to those of its predecessor, but in an easier version of it. Energy Balance’s missions could be solved in different combinations and were randomized with what numbers you had to work with. It really was hard work for the brain.
Using colors – and not that many – makes for fewer combinations and less thinking, even if it can sometimes be quite hard. When I hit a wall and couldn’t get past a level for some time, I ended up pressing whatever until I got it right. It feels like there is no real initiative to beat a mission using fewer clicks, which leaves little incentive to not just click randomly.
Energy Cycle feels a lot like its predecessor when it comes to the visuals: The background is mainly black, which lets you focus on the colored balls, which sparkle in a way that hints at an Outer Space setting. The choice of colors for the balls is odd, though; some of the colors look almost identical. I can imagine some people having a hard time seeing the differences at times, which makes the game harder than it has to be, and for the wrong reason. It seems like a bad design decision using two colors so much alike.
With Energy Cycle, developers Sometimes You once again show that they can make accessible and fun puzzles without any lore or story at all. Energy Cycle has more content than its predecessor, but the puzzles do start to feel boring much faster. Using colors is a great move to make the game more accessible, but it also hampers the strategic thinking that Energy Balance had.
Sending Positive Energy
This is a game for people who want easier puzzles you can random click your way through when you get too angry with the game to think them out. I like the direction the developers are going, and I hope the next in line will combine aspects from both these games.
Energy Cycle is available on Steam.
Watch the trailer for Energy Cycle below: