If you haven't figured out the meaning of the title of this one yet, don't feel bad; I just got it myself (hint: think sdrawkcab). Anyway, let's talk about Yalpeyalper from the ever-inventive Tonypa. This time he brings us his twist on a chain reaction game.
There have been many chain reaction games made in Flash, and the formula is simple: click one object and watch as the rest of the objects react in sequence. However, while other chain reaction games leave your fate up to chance, Yalpeyalper forces you to make sure you've picked the right starting point.
The game board is also simple: a black and white array of boxes with little dots on the sides. Each side of the box may or may not have a dot. What to do? Umm, click on one, I guess. So you click on one. The box will set off the box next to it if it has a dot on that side. This repeats the process, setting off more boxes and so on and so forth. Pretty standard chain reaction gameplay.
So now there are two options: 1) You got lucky and picked the right box and set off all the boxes, and you advance to the next level. 2) (much more likely) You saw boxes and panicked! So you just picked one randomly and failed to set off the entire chain. Oh well that's okay, you'll get it next time. So next time you figure it out and get to the next level. Now you're speeding through the levels. You're feeling pretty good about yourself. Eventually you make a mistake (it's okay, everybody makes mistakes). No big deal. You'll just pick another box with a lot of dots in it.
This doesn't look like the level you just played!!! That's because it's Level 1. That's right, it's back to the start for you. That's what you get for your impetuosity. This is the brilliance of Tonypa's implementation of the replay theme (which for some reason got seriously knocked in the comments). What was before a happy-go-lucky chain reaction extravaganza is suddenly transformed into a real thinker. Now you must thoughtfully plan your moves—you only get one chance.
Analysis: Another wonderful offering from Tonypa. Yalpeyalper takes the standard chain reaction game and tweaks it just enough to change it from a toy to a puzzle. Of course, as always with Tonypa the presentation is nice and simple, and complements the gameplay well. However, as many have noted, the board is a little small, which can make it hard to see for someone who has been staring at their computer screen for a few hours.
As for the puzzles themselves, at first I thought I had figured out a brilliant strategy: just click the box that none of the other boxes can set off. However, later stages of the game required much more thinking than that. In fact, picturing the patterns in my head became quite a trying task—and also a thing of beauty. As Psychotronic commented, watching the synchronized patterns is "very Zen". It really does have quite a mesmerizing effect.
The only real issue I had with this game was the length. I could have played many more levels than the ten offered. Again, as some have suggested, a randomization feature would make this game timeless. Then it would truly embody the replay concept—I could play it whenever I wanted. In order to preserve the original replay concept, one option could be to base the levels on size - e.g. Level 1 = 4 x 4, Level 2 = 5 x 5, Level 3 = 6 x 6, etc. Then the contest would be to see who could get to the highest level. The only loss would be the artistry that goes into level creation. Maybe the game could have two play modes: Arcade and Random.
In all, Yalpeyalper is a wonderful little puzzle game and, most importantly, unique. It is well thought out and well executed. With a little work, this game could be revisited over and over, thus providing another implementation of replay. Tonypa continues to reinvent game types we've seen before and delivers a brand new experience; see for yourself.
dancemonkey - The "replay" element in this game generated a lot of discussion, and I initially agreed with those who said it was an annoying contrivance. After playing more I realized that although there were several different and brilliant interpretations of the theme in the competition, Tonypa's implementation is the most subtly brilliant one in any of the entries. It actually changes the entire nature of the game: from being what could have been a boring game of random clicking into a stately, thoughtful series of puzzles. I agree that the replays themselves could have used a "fast-forward" button, but disagree with the comment that suggested the correct square should be remembered and marked. What would be the point? If Tonypa could get a randomization feature working in this game, then Yalpeyalper could be a new puzzle sensation!
zxo - We all knew that Tonypa could teach the course on game design minimalism, but he's even outdone himself in that respect with Yalpeyelper. By taking the chain reaction concept and making a puzzle out of it, he's also once again demonstrated his keen sense of originality for game mechanics. Unfortunately, the idea doesn't quite work, as the game becomes one-dimensional once you figure out the secret. Nevertheless, it's a neat concept and the only suggestion I would make on the implementation would be to introduce a soft "pop" or something for each detonation.