enQbate


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JayenQbateAqui Griffin delivered a visually stunning entry to our recent game design competition that is as easy to pick-up and play as it is to look at. enQbate is a simple puzzle game in which the objective is to highlight all cells in play by mousing over each with the cursor and then clicking.

As with most of the games in the competition, instructions should be unnecessary. The game is quite intuitive and easy to figure out on ones own. In case you need a hand getting started, all the levels in the game appears along the outside ring of the interface. You may play any level you wish using the selection mechanism at the bottom center, but it is suggested you begin with the first (and most basic) level, already in place at start-up, and work your way around by pressing the [>] button each time you complete a level. Then, to load up the puzzle for the current level, simply press the [+] button.

Once loaded, begin at the starting cell—the hexagon with the bright ring around it—and move the mouse over adjacent cells. You may only move up to 4 cells at a time before clicking to commit your path. Once committed you cannot go back without resetting the level. Thankfully you may reset as much as you need to complete the level and move on.

Completing levels is where the "grow" theme takes shape and is a reward for your efforts. An additional 'warp' cell type is introduced in later levels to introduce added complexity.

Analysis: I really enjoy this game, both from a visual perspective and because of its amazingly simple and straight forward gameplay. It took me about a minute to figure out what I was supposed to do and then I was compelled to play until I had completed every level. The levels ramp up in difficulty nicely with later levels presenting quite a challenge. For improvements, I'd like to see a random level generator made for the game to improve its replay value. Other than that, the game is nearly perfect as is.

Some of the choices for color and highlight may be difficult for those with certain forms of colorblindness, and at least one of the levels displayed a gameplay bug as noted in the comments. But short of those somewhat minor annoyances, this game shined and could have taken first place in the competition if it weren't for the other exceptionally strong contenders. An excellent effort from a budding and very promising new game developer. Well done, Aqui!

Play enQbate

zxo Visually and aurally, enQbate was competitive with any other entry—the graphics are sleek and the music appropriate. The puzzles were fun to play, and moderately innovative. I found the retracing mechanism to be very non-intuitive, and probably unnecessary—the transporters alone offered enough puzzle-designing capability. There were a few things that bothered me about the gameplay, such as being able to end on any cell you wanted, although maybe these were just bugs. With a few tweaks, I think this would have the potential to be a top entry.

43 Comments

Won it! Last one is a little tricky.

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DixiePixie March 2, 2007 2:33 AM

I know I"m not stupid, I just got into Harvard Law. but I can' never figure these out. They always kick my butt. Like this game is doing now, Bring on more RPG/Story style games please. that said, it looks nice.

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dixiepixie March 2, 2007 2:38 AM

lol, I think I posted a little too soon.......... I understand it now.... :)

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hmmmmmmm. Seems a bit buggy. I have had to restart a puzzle many a time, without a reason - the pods just stop responding.

Also, sometimes it makes a double or even a triple pod without a reason, making me have to restart.

Besides that - AWESOME design and a pretty nifty idea ;)

A reset button would be great.

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I really enjoy this game so far-- at first i was QUITE intimidated because i went to the hardest level first, but i really like the puzzle element, the music and most of all how the creator thought to allow you to put four orbs down with one click.

That was a nice subtle feature that made this game so much more playable

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gabrielbenjamin March 2, 2007 3:00 AM

I cheated a little.

I took a screenshot and traced the path for each protein in MS Paint.

By the way, kudos to the author for turning protein folding into a game. Pretty true to life.
(spoils discovering the interface)

Although the teleports break realism a little.
Possibly the backtracks do as well.
Anyone have an idea as to the limitations on backtracking, i.e. in
which cases it bursts the amino acids?

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nCn - it's not bugged; I think you just didn't notice a part of the interface: when you drag your mouse around from your active location, it faintly highlights a trail of up to four sectors which will all be activated when you click (hence the double or even triple pod). When you've highlighted four already, the rest stop responding. To unhighlight you have to reverse-drag along the same path to get back to your active one, then you can go off in another direction if you want.

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Oh i see now. There is a slightly shaded area showing you where you will lay the pod.
Its REALLY hard to see it though. REALLY REEEEEALLY hard.
So hard that I have only JUST noticed it. And I'm on the last level :D

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gabrielbenjamin March 2, 2007 3:09 AM

@maddogmadsen
I would've liked to be able to lay a path of arbitrary length; you could lay whatever you know of the solution (even the whole thing) in one go. The order in which you selected cells would have to be clearer, though, and the unselection process would need streamlining. For the given interface, though, four is a decent compromise.

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Wheeeeeeeeeeeee I'm a daddy :D

Nice game!

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When I first spied the thumbnail on the review, I thought "I'm not sure this is a good way to de-stress after my exam. It looks too much like a giant organic molecule." Little did I know...

Anyway, it's definitely one of the most "puzzling" so far. Adding random "hyrdophilic" and "hydrophobic" amino acids or something of that nature in puzzles with multiple routes could add immense replay value.

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you only get a certain number of moves--that is why the thing will burst if you backtrack too many times

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Liked this one, but it was a little bit to easy for me.
nearly made it in one go. Some more of the harder levels would have been nice.

cheers,
cosie

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monster March 2, 2007 9:16 AM

Jay,
don't know if its me or the link, but when i click "click" in the review, i get a new window, but rather than the game loading i get the competition entry page with all the other entries at the bottom to click on. EnQbate wasn't on it but background music loop by antfactor is.

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monster March 2, 2007 9:18 AM

Jay, sorry ignore my last comment. It does say background music loop but i just clicked it and got enQbate.

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monster - It sounds like you may need to clear your browser cache.

Each time you click on a competition entry link, a fresh new competition collection UI should download containing the latest version for you with all the games in it. It sounds like your browser failed to do that.

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Sorry, for the bugginess of this game. I spend more time drawing than I do coding. Anyways, I fixed a couple things so it would be more playable, but let me know if you guys see anything else. Also, if you have suggestions for a gameplay idea in the future. thanks so far for all the comments. I look forward to seeing the other entries soon.

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As of right now, This will be getting my vote for the audience choice award. Hopefully it receives some stiff competition in the coming days.

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This is a really well designed game. Certain levels are there just to help you discover gameplay features, but they're spread throughout the sequence and still good puzzles to boot.
The ability to trace a path of four is really useful. There may be a clever way to make it of arbitrary length without being cumbersome, but I can't think of a way.
I often get bored with games like this after the first few levels, but the good design and puzzles along with my desire to see what it was I was growing kept me going through the end.

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I think the nearly-invisible highlighting and "tail-dragging" really got in the way on later levels, as it'd create double or triple pods when I didn't want it to. On the second-to-last level (the 5-wide hexagon with four pairs of teleporters), I sometimes couldn't even figure out "where I was" until I read previous comments.

IMHO, it would've been better if the gameplay stuck with "click adjacent hexagon to continue", as that's how I played nearly every level so the above "features" merely got in my way.

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Kuehlbaum March 2, 2007 3:03 PM

I think I found a bug here that made it a little easier to complete the game:

When you have e.g. only 1 move left but need to grow three more bubble-thingies, just use the highlight feature to grow all three bubbles with one click.

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@gabrielben
if you could grow a giant tail, then where would the fun be-- it would be like solving a maze starting from the end-- the 4 length allows for flexibility, but still makes you plan out your moves carefully. yes, perhaps the purple edge could be brighter, but the fact that it is not gives some aspect of discovery to the game-- haha, maybe i am being too nice, but thanks aquigriffin :)

and i dont know if the "bug" pointed out by kuehlbaum is really a bug-- i mean, i think the level i used that in was the only way i could get to the end....
but maybe i am just tripping :)

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I also believe there was at least one level where it was required to over-grow the limit using the "bug" Kuehlbaum mentioned.

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syberwolff March 2, 2007 9:06 PM

how can I solve the Level? I think its glitched, I just can't figure this one out, I had it on the finish spot with 24/24 and it still said I lost.. This is the only puzzle I have left to finish.

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Great game. Again with nice music. main thing it needs: a create your own level, and play other created levels. I am glad I don't have to judge this competition.

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the bug on 24/24: I solved it myself completing it w/ exactly 24/24. Could someone put up a spoiler on how they're solving it... maybe SE:1 NE:1--->N:2 NW:1... so on and so forth. I really regret not beta testing this sucker with other people, but homeys got deadlines you know.

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nevermind... I know what you're talking about with 24/24. It is actually solvable with only 24 though. I'll be sure to fix that.

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here's an overgrow example. on the first one, do
(s, se, s, se), n, sw, (sw, sw, nw, sw)
which finishes in 11 steps instead of 9. all the levels can be finished without using overgrow.

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fixed the bug w/ addition to improving visibility... should be reposted soon. thanks for the input everyone. Also, I've already started making a much harder version for the game junkies out there.

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Sorry for the delay. The new version is now online. Please empty your browser cache to get the latest version of Aqui's game.

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BrokenFixer March 3, 2007 8:43 PM

nice job, although i did the hardest levels first.

Some of the levels can't be solved by direct path, but

That's why you get a slightly larger number of allowed moves - enough to pay for backtracking (destroying your own growth). If you spend more than the allowed moves, you lose the level. Also apparently you don't have to finish the level on the highlighted hex.

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That was a great puzzle. Not TOO difficult, except for a few of the levels.

Here is the layout for the 24 move level, if you haven't already beat it:

there are actually two ways to beat it that I know of, I'll just show you one. An x denotes a double click on a transport cell.
se ne n n nw sw s s x s s sw nw n n x se ne

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Very colorblind unfriendly!

I can't see the build-up-to-4-trail...at all. And some of the transporter colors are close enough that I have trouble distinguishing them.

I like the concept of the game, and I did manage to play it all the way through, but it was unnecessarily difficult because of the colors.

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Cant figure one puzzle out. it's killing me. Haha. Very good game.

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Catisfaction April 5, 2007 4:05 AM

I loved it. This is the first game on JiG that I've managed to finish without having to look at any spoilers because it actually made sense!! Kudos to the creator :D

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I can't finish the game because of the level with 24/24! is there a glitch?

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24/24 is solvable.

SE,NE(T),N,N,NW,SW,S,S(HIT THE TELEPORT TWICE),S,S,SW,NW,N,N(HIT THE TELEPORT TWICE),SE,NE

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grr cant finish the grid one. That's my last one...

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Very good game. It is not very hard, but still very entertaining. Good job, Aqui!

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i got it! yay!

good game.

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Here's the complete enQbate walkthrough. All of these solutions use the exact number of moves allowed. The walkthroughs consist of steps in the six directions, N, NW, NE, S, SW, SE, as well as one step called "stay" where you click in the same square that you are in.

  1. S, SE, SE, S, NW, SW, NW, SW

  2. N, NE, N, NW, SW, S, SW, NW, SW, NW, N, NE, SE, NE, N

  3. SW, S, SW, S, SE, S, SE, NE, SE, NE, N, NW, SW, NW, N, NE, SE, NE, N, NW

  4. NW, N, NE, N, NE, SE, S, SW, NW, SW, NW, NW

  5. N, NE, N, NW, S, NW, S, NW, S, NW, N, SW, S, NW, N, SW, S, NW, N, NE, NE, SE, NE, SE, NE, N

  6. SE, S, SE, S, SE, NE, NE, N, SW, NW, N, NW, N, NE, SE, S, NE, N, NE, SE, S, SW, S, SE, S, SW, S, SW

  7. NE, N, NE, SW, NW, NW, N, SE, NE, SE, NE, N, N, NE, SE, S, S, SW, NE, SE, SE, S, SW, NW, NW, SW, S, SE, S

  8. NE, N, NE, N, NE, S, SE, N, NE, SE, SE, S, SW, S, S, SW, SW, N, NE, NW, N, SW, S, SW, S, SE, S, NE, SE, NE, NE

  9. NW, NE, SE, NE, SE, S, SW, NW, SW, NW, SW, NW, N, NE, N, NE, NW, NW, N, NE, SE, SE, S, SE, SE, N, NE, N, NW, SW, NW

  10. NE, N, NE, NE, SE, S, S, SW, NW, S, S -- teleport white -- N, N, N, N, SE, NE, N, N, NW, SW, SW, S, SW

  11. NW, N, NW, SW, S, NW, SW, SW, SE, S, SE, N, NE, NE, S, S, SW, SW, SW, S, SE, NE, N, SE, NE, NE, NW, N, NE, SE, S -- teleport white -- S, SE, S

  12. SE, NE -- teleport white -- S, S, SW, NW, N, N, stay -- teleport white -- N, N, NW, SW, S, S, stay -- teleport white -- SE, NE

  13. N, N, NW -- teleport blue -- NE, N, N, NW -- teleport white -- NW, N, N, SE -- teleport red -- NW, NE -- teleport purple -- SE, N, N

  14. SW, SE, S, SW, NW, SW, S, SW, NW, SW, NW, N, NW, N, NE, NE, SE, NE, SE, NE, N, N, NW -- teleport white -- NE, NE -- teleport red -- N, NW, N -- teleport blue -- S

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The growing zygote/embryo/fetus thing... if it doesn't grow to full infant form have I done something wrong???

What makes it level up?

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VERY VERY VERY good game. I hate puzzles, and I suck at them, but this one was easy enough that I was able to get it quickly, and also do it at a constant challenge. For everyone thinking about those 'bugs' about the dragging: It is in the instructions in-game! It says that you can drag up to four hexes.

I did look at one spoiler ahead, but just to see if I could see if there was something that I missed, and that was

where you are able to click on the teleports again to go through them, after you go onto another space first; I kept on missing that part. I don't know how I missed that with all the click I was doing :p

Very well made, and I hope to find more of this creator's in the future, maybe in other genres as well?

Oh, and I probably won't see any replies, so if you do happen to want to send me something :lamus_maser@yahoo.com

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