When we were recording the landmark hundredth episode of the Kaiju Popcast, there was a point when erstwhile KP alumn Joe Robson talked in fond nostalgic terms about Resistance: Fall of Man. It seemed an odd dose of nostalgia, given that it was a game that came out in a hardware generation that has only been labelled ‘last’ for about six months or so now, but when you stop to think, it’s positively ancient now, thanks to the longer lifespans of console hardware.

The mobile game space then, with hardware refreshes every year, if that, has to be thought of in dog years. A 2010 game on a new handset might as well be the equivalent of playing Jet Set Willy on a PS4.

Still, perennial favourites endure, to the point that Glow Puzzle (downloaded over 5.7 million times apparently, which is a lot for something I’d never heard of, though I’d wager a good slice of these are for the free ‘lite’ version; that Glow Puzzle has a ‘lite’ version at all belies its age somewhat) can get an update and we’ll receive promo codes and press releases about it. 5.7 million can’t be wrong, right?

glowpuzzle

Glow Puzzles has difficulty reading your motions with anything more intricate than this.

At Glow Puzzle’s heart is a simple line drawing game. There are a series of nodes on the screen connected by lines in different patterns, starting as simple squares and trapezoids and moving into more elaborate cross-crosses. You have to trace the patterns displayed, connecting every node in one continuous motion without doubling back on yourself. It’s an incredibly simplistic and easily understood concept that is near infinitely expandable; the most recent update brings the level count to 650. A casual, mildly challenging diversion, it’s easy to see where the game’s initial popularity came from.

Then again, playing it from a 2014 perspective makes Glow Puzzle seem positively Jurassic. The problem is that visual feedback to your finger movements isn’t one to one, so when you trace a line from node to node, there’s a half second pause, and then the entire line will light up rather than being traced under your fingertip. Occasionally, input lag gets long enough that your finger will have changed directions by the time the game starts drawing your motions. That seems to confuse the game, which assumes you went in a bizarre diagonal direction as opposed to rounding a corner, resulting in an undeserved game over.

It isn’t something that completely breaks the experience, but does prevent it from being worthwhile in this day and age. In the intervening years since Glow Puzzle’s initial release, there have been no end of similar puzzle games that have refined and added to the ideas displayed here; most recently the entirely pleasant if unremarkable Watercolors. It’s all very well and good to support a game for so long and trumpet new levels of a huge casual puzzler, but only when the core mechanics have been perfected first.

KAIJU VERDICT:
1/4 Pops: Weak. One pop games may be functional, and enjoyable to some, but not most. Mechanical or conceptual failings make them impossible to recommend.

iOS version tested
Review code supplied by Nexxstudio

About The Author

Gamer, Educator, Writer of Stuff, wrestler of professionals (sometimes)