Back in the 1980s we had some very different kinds of entertainment. All we had were some sticks, a few stones and loads of mud – and those were just the lucky ones. So when the Rubik’s Cube came along it blew our tiny little minds. It was a puzzle game with different colours and it needed a mind that thought in a very alien way to complete it. Some people could complete it brilliantly with ease, whilst some just threw it under the bed never to be seen again.
Energy Cycle is very similar to my friend the Rubik’s Cube – it’s a puzzle game that some people will enjoy, conquer and relish. But for those other humans, those who can’t comprehend a certain type of puzzle, they’ll need to turn away right now, for there is nothing to see here.
Energy Cycle has three game modes, but is basically the same concept throughout.
You have horizontal and vertical lines of colourful balls of energy set out in a certain way per level of puzzle. Your job is to try and turn all the energy balls to the same colour. Easy huh? Well no, because by turning one horizontal row one colour, you might affect the vertical line that is connected to it. It is all about working out the patterns, thinking ten turns ahead of yourself and basically having a brain wired up to work out these type of conundrums.
In “Puzzle Mode” you have 28 levels to tax your brain, turning all the balls into the same colour to see the level complete and moving onto the next. At the end of each level it tells you how long it took to complete, and how many turns you took in order to do so. These 28 levels start off on the easy, but end up on the bloody hard level of the puzzling spectrum. You also have a “Time Attack” mode where the puzzles are now randomised, but you have a certain amount of time to complete them. Finally there is “Infinite Mode” where you can play until the end of time with random puzzles at your own leisure. The gameplay works well enough in all these modes and the controls work exactly as intended. To be honest this is the most simplest of game designs and the world it creates is clean, concise and feels good to play.
The main problem contained within Energy Cycle is basically whether you can actually complete this type of puzzle or not, because you see, there isn’t anything else to it. You’ll know whether you can the very first time you play it, or just have a look at the screen shots to see if it’s your thing or not. There isn’t much variety in the game itself, which is fine for a puzzle game. It’s the type of game that is nice to play on your phone for a couple of minutes at a time in-between commutes.
So why should you take a chance and buy this game? Well, one big reason is the price, which is certainly right for this little puzzler. Only released in the US at the moment, it is priced at just $2.99 – something which makes it almost impossible not to take a punt on. The other big winning point for the game is in the achievements. If you can work your way through all the 28 levels in the “Puzzle Mode” you are guaranteed an easy 1000 gamerscore.
The game has the looks of something you might expect from a puzzler of this type, and it does the job very well. The energy balls are very shiny and colourful, and everything looks suitably presentable. The backgrounds to each have a kind of trippy 2001 vibe, which you can change if you want. The soundtrack is really special and compliments it all well, with some great trance and dance tunes to get lost in. You can switch these off in the menu, but why would you?
In conclusion, there is a market on Xbox One for this type of mobile, play for a couple of minutes in-between FIFA, puzzle title. Energy Cycle is aimed at a type of person who is familiar with this style of puzzle, but if you hate these then you’ll quickly know that it’s not for you. But if it is for you, how can you go wrong with the cheap price, the easy to play modes and the possibility of getting an easy 1000 achievement points?
After my time here, I am going back into the loft, completely inspired that I’m going to find my old Rubik’s Cube and complete it once more.