Causality from Loju
Puzzle games are rewarding when we overcome whatever obstacles the game throws our way. They’re different from most games because they oftentimes make us think a bit more critically about what to do next. What makes a good puzzle game is whether the puzzles are rewarding and well-designed. If not, then it feels like a waste of time. Causality by Loju, is a simplistic puzzle game that doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but makes for a rewarding, well-crafted experience.
Causality involves astronauts on floating platforms. It relies on trial and error, figuring out where to send the astronauts using arrow floor tiles to directing them to the colored tile in the stage. Its simplistic design makes it easy to understand as more and more layers of complexity are added. For example, the game will go on to introduce switches, cloning platforms and multiple astronauts to make things more difficult.
Cause for Concern
You’ll often encounter a myriad mechanics within each stage; since the astronauts move on their own, you must manipulate the environment to help guide them to their destined tile. Tiles that have arrows dictate the direction the astronauts will follow. Additional mechanics are layered on to make things more complex. Thankfully, these are not too complicated or excessive. Simple contraptions like floor switches keep things grounded and easy to wrap your head around so that it’s less frustrating when you encounter difficult stages.
The game isn’t challenging to the point where you’re cursing in frustration, but challenging enough to make it rewarding. Stages are short and bite-sized, much like a mobile puzzle game. Causality also allows you to rewind and forward time at will to see where and when you could fix mistakes or alter certain tiles at the right time for success. Stages are not traditionally timed with a counting clock, but you are only given a certain amount of it to complete stages. And although the stages in the game are definitely nothing you’ve haven’t seen before if you’re a puzzle game enthusiast, it’s all cleverly designed.
There were plenty of instances where I just ran out of time before I reached the stage goal – I’m talking literally one tile right before the end. Since stages have only a certain amount of time to complete them in, it goes to show that the developers accounted for certain paths along each stage, showing that there was a lot of thought that went into creating the levels.
It’s clever and rewarding when you finally figure out the correct path and the correct time to activate certain tiles. This type of design means that most of the time there is only one correct way to complete each stage, so keep that in mind if you’re looking for a more dynamic puzzle game experience.
Visuals and music do a good job of making things simple so that you’re focusing mainly on the puzzles at hand. This isn’t a visual showpiece because it wasn’t designed to be. Nothing in the game is trying to distract you or take away from your focus. Everything from the astronauts to the floating tiles are purposefully simplistic, giving it a super clean sci-fi aesthetic. The game even has visual cues like a distortion effect to let you know when you’re about to run out of time.
Music is ambient and fits like a glove for a game that involves more critical thinking. It consists mostly of low toned, long drawn out electronic synth chords that aren’t overbearing or distracting.
AstroNaut for Naught
Solving the game’s stages was rewarding, which ultimately the mark of a good puzzle game. Causality doesn’t necessarily create something new if you’re a fan of the genre, but it does offer a well designed, simplistic yet challenging puzzle game experience.
Causality is available via Steam.
Watch the official trailer for Causality below: