Twizzle


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Rating: 4.1/5 (80 votes)
| Comments (17) | Views (22)

PsychotronicTwizzle"Twizzle"—a rather prosaic title for a work with such philosophical ambitions. This is the newest action puzzle game from Philipp Seifried and Markus Mundjar, the authors of A Good Hunch and Drifts. It is available to play at their just-launched new site BobbleBrook, a showcase for their particular brand of sophisticated game design and stunning artwork.

Each level in Twizzle is a circle, made up of a series of rotating concentric rings. Your aim is to transport a small orb from the innermost ring to the outermost, but you only have limited control over the orb's movement. Press [up] to shift it one ring outward, and press [down] to shift it inward. Whenever you occupy a warm (orange or yellow) orbit, you may switch freely from path to path; but as soon as you enter a cool (gray or blue) orbit, your sphere will be at the whims of fate until an arrow icon bounces it back into your zone of control.

Over the course of the game's 17 levels, you will encounter a number of new icons that complicate matters. Much of the fun of Twizzle is in exploring the effects and ramifications of each new element, but suffice to say that the later levels offer some very twisty and intricate maze-works indeed.

Solving Twizzle involves a subtle mixture of observation and experimentation. It often pays to just throw your orb at the puzzle from every which way and see what happens, but eventually you'll need to develop a specific escape plan. None of the levels take too long to solve once you've figured them out, but you will occasionally need some patience, since your movement speed is limited by the rotation of the rings.

Analysis: Seifried and Mundjar's skills seem to have improved. With Twizzle, instead of simply putting a twist on a common genre and then slathering it with pastels, they have created a unique game with an introspective soul of its own. The goal of the game—to occupy the most expanded ring—mirrors the gentle mind-expanding nature of the puzzles. Underscoring the seriousness of Bobblebrook's intentions, each level comes with a quotation from some luminary, usually concerning geometry. Perhaps we are meant to ponder the essence of a circle and all the philosophical implications of nature's purest two-dimensional form. Or at least let our subconscious tangle with the issue while we get on with enjoying the game.

The presentation is simply gorgeous. Between levels, the player gets to go on a little ride through a handsome world of calligraphy and watercolors before arriving at the next circle. The backgrounds almost overwhelm the actual gameplay in fact, but when the levels get more difficult, the transitions serve as a rewarding breather between bouts of concentration. I would also be remiss if I didn't mention how well the pastoral music sets the mood; although you are free to turn it off if you'd prefer to throw on some Kruder and Dorfmeister, which would also be appropriate.

I won't say that this is a masterpiece. It's a little bit too short, there's something haphazard about the design of the puzzles, and some of the aesthetic elements may be superfluous (the quotations didn't really do anything for me.) However, there is so much talent here, and such a strong sense of mood and direction, that I'm eager to see what Bobblebrook comes up with next. The world can always use another mature, expressive video game.

Play Twizzle

17 Comments

Very fun puzzle game. The in-game artwork was amazing, and the gameplay was very fun. I had a little trouble with the up-down as moving in and out, and even in later levels I found myself pressing Up when I wanted to go inwards.

Anyways, awesome job, bobblebrook.

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Link is broken...

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Thanks, becca. It should be fixed now. :)

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Haploid May 2, 2008 1:51 PM

I do wish this game had a speedup button. Sometimes when you're on a gray track, you have to wait 10 seconds until you reach some arrow, which kind of distracts from the puzzle.

Also, for some odd reason, the spacebar brings you to the next level. ;) Probably some flash button that is activated by it.

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A new, simple idea beautifully executed. As a wordsmith and a math freak, I personally like the quotes! My only critique is that, after hours of grad work, just a few minutes with this tiny puzzle is more eyestrain than I can handle.

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The space-bar thing was my blunder - we used that while testing and I forgot to remove it when we put the game online. It's fixed now.

We're off for a quick celebration (it's half past nine over here). Have a great day, everybody, and thanks to the JIG team for a great review!

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I like this one. Right now I'm on level 15 and from the time I spent getting here I guess I should be thru all 17 levels in a couple of more minutes.

The game is easy to understand and control, the difficulty curve is OK, the background music is good enough not to turn it off - and they tell me right away how many levels are there. I think 17 levels is around the good amount of puzzle, much more would get a bit boring, less would be a bit too little.

Thumbs up.

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Philipp,

sad to let you know that the spacebar was still active half a minute ago :)

Maybe because I started the game earlier than you fixed it? I dunno.

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Ezrabbit Author Profile Page May 2, 2008 6:37 PM

Really cool puzzle, but those rings need to move faster!

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Valarauka Author Profile Page May 2, 2008 7:13 PM

Nice little puzzle game, I'm on level 14.
Maybe the spacebar could be re-purposed into a fast-forward button?

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The game seemed slow at first, but that was because we've all been conditioned to expect to click the mouse at uzi-like speed or click a button to end our turns.

To get the ball where you want it to go faster, move it downwards; all the segments move at the same speed (at least they do in the earlier stages), but your ball (I assume it's supposed to be fully spherical) will have less space to traverse.

As for when you're waiting for your ball to move through a large stretch of grayness, that's where the calming music comes in. If you're certain you've gotten everything right, why not take the time to reflect on the quote or just close your eyes and enjoy the music?

(No, I don't get enough caffeine in my diet. Thanks for noticing)

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Miasere Author Profile Page May 2, 2008 8:03 PM

A really nice pleasant and relaxing game.

Good work

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A level editor would make this game AMAZING. Just think of the user-submitted levels that could be played and puzzled with.

Very fun and relaxing game.

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this game sorta defines casual gaming. quite exquisite

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Cactus Author Profile Page May 3, 2008 3:20 PM

lovely game, with the hazy artwork and simple tune it seems to be saying "what's the rush?"

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Beautiful art, both visually and with all the quotes. It was a real thinker, but not a brain strain for me. I didn't come running for a walkthrough.

I agree that a level editor WOULD be super amazing, and the difficulty curve was good, and the music wasn't bothersome. Implementation was good (I did have trouble with pressing up when I meant to press down even in later levels, but I guess it's because not many games have that kind of control scheme, which isn't a bad thing).

How come there isn't a "unique" tag on this one?

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littlefish April 8, 2011 5:56 AM

Hi!
I think this is worthy to be picked for Vault tuesday!

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