Energy Balance – What We Think:
Energy Balance endeavors to bring storytelling and Sudoku (or, as developer Sometimes You calls it, “a number puzzle”) together into a seamless gaming experience.
The story is set in space, where your spaceship encounters an anomaly, causing all the ship’s systems to fail. It is up to you to distribute the available energy and get the ship moving again. Between levels, there are cut scenes telling a tale that I will not spoil here (though I will say that I found the monologues to be confusing and boring). These cut scenes feature some nicely designed imagery, backgrounds and cats. However, they stand in stark contrast to the bland and fast-moving space background.
Sudoku Amped Up
But Energy Balance is about giving your brain a workout with its simple, engaging number puzzles. The idea is somewhat similar to the ubiquitously popular Sudoku puzzles perpetually being solved by all ages on the public transit.
In Energy Balance you have both horizontal and vertical lines which must add up to the sum at the end of the line. To do this, you are given a set of numbers in the lines, which you then can arrange to make this happen. The end sum will be different from line to line and can be a positive or negative number, adding a new strategic layer to this type of a game.
The number puzzles are divided into different stages, which get bigger and more complex in terms of how the lines are made up. But there is also a great deal of re-playability, because – while the lines of numbers and how they are constructed are the same for each stage – leaving and entering it again will give you a new random set of sums (with its own random set of numbers at your disposal), making this game a mind-wrecker which can go on forever.
So Watts The Problem?
Energy Balance can be frustratingly hard, like anger-management-issues hard. But being hard and needing you to use 200% of your brain pretty early on is a good thing! Many puzzle games today are way too easy or take too long to get legitimately challenging. This one expects you to think well from the outset.
While the visual presentation in some cases leaves a lot to be desired, the puzzles themselves are presented in an easy way with no real distractions, only a calming space background to keep all your focus on the numbers ahead.
Sometimes You have also managed to create a legitimately great atmospheric soundtrack with music that fits the world and story in which the puzzles take place, adding a sense of momentum without ever feeling stressful.
Energy Balance is a good game for anyone who wants to give their brain a rough workout; it will frustrate you when you can’t solve the puzzle in front of you, but conversely, you feel great when you finally get the solution.
Joule Have Fun
While the story and cut scenes do not add anything significant to the game, the music does make it better, and also provides some incentive as to why you should play this kind of puzzle on your computer instead of a magazine.
Watch the trailer for Energy Balance below: