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Pulsus


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joyepulsus.gif What makes a game relaxing? Despite featuring a large quantity of whizzing, brightly-colored particles and a constantly counting down timer, Pulsus somehow manages to be a game I'd like to pick up and play at o'dark hundred while sipping a cup of herbal tea until I get sleepy again.

In this puzzle game, an emitter is releasing particles of different colors. You cannot manipulate the particles directly, but using the mouse, you can place circles called "forces" onto the field to direct particles into the goals. You win the level when all the goals are filled. Some goals are colored, and only fill up when hit by particles of their own color; for these levels, you need to use colored forces which attract particles of one color and repel all other colors.

Analysis: Pulsus will doubtlessly be compared to Auditorium. The superficial resemblance is quite strong: manipulating streams to hit targets, with sleek graphics and sounds and a relaxing mood. After playing both games, however, it's clearly only a skin deep similarity. The strategies for solving the puzzles of one game would be completely useless in the other.

Pulsus' strength, its primary entertainment value, is in the way the visuals, the chimes in the audio, and the trial-and-error, sit-back-and-watch puzzle solving combine for a meditative gaming experience. So, why is there a timer? The big purpose of timers in gaming is to add tension. It's like I was lying on a massage table, smelling incense, listening to water flowing over stones, totally relaxed, and all of a sudden the therapist drips cold massage oil into the small of my back. Mood broken, and it totally could have been avoided!

Although I more-or-less sailed through the levels, I had a rough time with the final one. I couldn't even get any of the left hand goals half-way full. In frustration, I even wrote to the developer to ask what the strategy was for that level. So, I may not be an expert at the game, but I still enjoyed it quite a bit.

Despite the timer, Pulsus has still earned a place among the tiny coterie of games I turn to for relaxation. A massage is lovely, even with a little cold shock.

Play Pulsus

(And then tell me how to beat the last level.)

Walkthrough Guide


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Here are some hints for each level.

Caveats abound: These are by far not the only solutions possible, and I don't promise they will result in the highest possible score. But, they will work if you're stuck.

Level 00

One disk above the generator and one below should fill both goals fairly quickly.

Level 01

One disk to the left and slightly above the generator, the other to the left and slightly below.

Level 02

One disk above the generator and one to the right. Now imagine a straight line between the generator and goal. Place one disk off to the right of that line and one disk to the left of that line, so that these two disks, the generator, and goal form a diamond shape.

Level 03

One disk directly above the generator, very close to it. One disk below the generator close to the bottom edge of the screen.

Level 04

This level can be solved with only three disks, but it doesn't hurt to use all five. Place the disks a little ways away from the generator evenly spaced in a semicircle around the left side of the generator.

Level 05

Place one disk so the generator, left goal, top goal, and disk form a diamond. Place a second disk below the generator, halfway between the generator and the bottom of the screen. The top goal should fill very quickly, and the left goal will soon follow. Once the left goal is full, place the third disk to the left of the generator.

Level 06

Put the two blue disks equally spaced in a line between the generator and goal. Put the purple disk and orange disk behind the generator. You do not need to use the grey disk to clear the level.

Level 07

Put the two purple disks equally spaced in a line between the generator and purple goal. Place a black disk beneath the generator, not quite halfway to the bottom of the screen.

Level 08

Fill the goals one at a time. Place all four disks very close to the generator in a semi-circle opposite one goal. This will cause the particles to leave the generator in a narrow dense stream. Once the first goal fills, shift the disks around so the stream is pointing at the second goal. You should end up with a score between 1500-2000.

Level 09

For each goal, place both disks of that color equally spaced in a line between the goal and generator.

Level 10

It is quite hard to describe in words how I solve this, so here, have an image.

Level 11

Place one of each color disk near to the generator and one about halfway between the first disk and the goal.

Level 12

Place the two purple disks in a line from the generator to the goal. Pick either orange or blue and place two disks of the same color in a line from the generator to the grey goal.

I know there is a faster way to do this, since my high score is 2600, and this method at best yields 2200 points, but I can't remember the more efficient method of solving it.

Level 13

Place the two blue disks equally spaced in a line going straight up from the generator. Place the orange disks below the generator in a line. You should earn more than 2000 points this way.

Level 14

Place the disks like so. The blue goal will fill relatively quickly, after which you can return the blue disks. Adjust the placement of the black disks so the stream is pointing at one goal, then after it fills, point the stream at the other goal. I managed a high of 1979 with this method.

Level 15

Start by placing the orange and purple disks between the goals and generator in a rough V shape. Place the thre black disks behind the generator in a semi-circle. Once the purple and orange fill up, move the purple and orange disks to the top and bottom of the screen and place the blue disks in a line between goal and generator. I had between 1300 and 1500 points on this level, depending on how quickly I did the initial setup of disks.

Level 16

I used this arrangement and scored 2050.

Level 17

Place the three black disks in a semi circle around the generator so the stream is pointing at the orange goal. Place one orange disk near the generator and one near the orange goal.

After the orange goal fills up, return the orange disks and rearrange the black disks so the particles are hitting both blue and purple goals. Put the blue and purple disks in lines from the generator to their respective goals.

My high score with this method was around 1000. The orange goal takes a loooong time to fill.

Level 18

Put a disk of the appropriate color between the generator and each goal. As soon as a goal fills, remove the disk next to it.

My high score was 2370.

Level 19

Place the three blue disks equally spaced in al ine from the generator to the blue goal. Repeat with orange. As each of the blue and orange goals fill adjust their disks slightly further away from the generator, to allow more particles freedom to move to the purple goals.

My high score was 2387.

Level 20

This is by far the hardest round. Start by arranging the black disks to form a funnel around the generator, so the particles all go towards the center goal. As soon as the center goal fills up, rearrange the disks so that the stream is more tightly aimed and the left middle goal, which should fill in a second or two after the center goal filled.

Now rearrange the disks to focus the stream at one of the remaining goals. As soon as it fills, focus the stream on the last goal.

Most of this level will depend on quick placement and rearranging of the disks and on generating a nice tightly-focused stream of particles. Keep tweaking the black disks until you can aim the funnel well.

My high score was a mere 890 points.

Level 21

Put two black disks to the left of the generator.

Put the three purple disks in a triangular formation around the purple goal.

Put a black disk below and to the right of the generator, so the stream of particles flows mostly toward the top left grey goal. This goal should fill quickly.

After the top left goal fills, move the black disk further down and to the right, almost to the bottom of the screen. Ad another black disk between the generator and the top goal. Most of the stream of particles should hit the lower grey goal, and what don't get caught up in that goal flow on towards the purple goal.

My best score on this level was 1500.

26 Comments

Anonymous January 26, 2010 3:43 PM

I click on the two overlapping circles, and in reponse a line appears which ends in a dashed circle.

I can't do anything else. Nothing else is manipulatable by me.

Great simple design, etc, nicely done. But don't know what to do next.

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Fun game, loved the controls and graphics.

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JIGuest, you should be able to drag both of those overlapping discs down into the playing area, and then move them around once they're in the playing area. It's click-hold-drag, not click-to-pick-up, if that makes sense.

I am totally stuck on Level 13 and am hoping the power of posting will get this worked out for me. :-)

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Ah-ha, finally. In case somebody else gets stuck, for level 13:

Place an orange and a blue disc next to each other behind the generator, on the left side of the screen. Then, place an orange and a blue disc to make a diamond pattern out of them, the generator, and the purple receiver--one on top, one on bottom. Have the diamond slightly lopsided such that the orange and blue discs are slightly closer to the generator than the receiver. It will take a while for this to work and the purple receiver will take a lot of orange and blue hits, but it should get ALL the purple particles this way, and will eventually fill.

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Joye, to beat the last level,

Work fast--you're filling the receivers one at a time, not coming up with a pattern that fills all three simultaneously. First, knock out the purple receiver by making a breadcrumb trail with the purple discs and a guiding-cone-shape with the black discs. As soon as the purple receiver is full, put the purple discs away entirely--they only gum things up. Use the black discs to make a guiding cone towards each of the other two, one after the other. If you work quick, you'll finish with time to spare.

Awesome game! I liked it a lot. I wouldn't mind a set of challenge/bonus levels; I solved almost all the levels on my first try.

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I like your idea of using the game to induce relaxation. I'll have to favorite this and try it the next time I can't fall asleep :-)

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I don't know why you would call this game relaxing. I'm finding it incredibly stressful with the time limit alone. By the time I try out a few ideas on how to direct the dots around, I've already run out of time. If it had no time limit, I'd probably find it much more relaxing, but having to think quickly without much room for error doesn't really fit the bill for me.

Having said that, I'm also finding this game strangely addictive, so I'll continue playing for awhile :)

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MmeTurbulence Author Profile Page January 26, 2010 6:33 PM

Love the game, but it took a scant 15 minutes to play all the way through. I'd love more levels!

As for the last level, level 21, here's how I solved it:

I put two black disks to the left of the generator.

I put the three purple disks in a triangular formation around the purple goal, to sieve out any orange/blues heading that way.

I put a black disk below and to the right of the generator, so the stream of particles went mostly toward the top left grey goal. This goal filled very quickly.

I then moved the black disk further down and to the right, almost to the bottom of the screen. I added another black disk between the generator and the top goal. Most of the stream of particles hit the lower grey goal, and what didn't get caught up in that goal when on towards the purple goal.

My best score on that level was 1500.

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I love this game so far! Totally stuck on level 10 though. The blue goal seems to drag particles away from the gray one!

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Im REALLY stuck on lvl. 15! Its really annoying me! I tried getting them into the right places by doing one at a time too. I got closer doing that.

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Finally done! It was nice, had good atmosphere, but an overall hollow feeling at the end. I just spent an hour trying to figure this crap out (yeah I know Im slow) and all I get is a stupid "game over" screen. No congratulations???

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Anyone have any tips for 13? Scottique's idea helped a little, but the blue and orange particles keep getting in and wearing the purples down, and then I run out of time. I've lost track of how many times I've done this level, and I'm actually kind of wishing for a "skip level" button at this point.

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Yeah, no, I think I'll come back and play this game when you let us know they've added an untimed mode.

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tigrita: For level 13:

I just placed an orange circle directly abouve the generator, and a blue circle directly below it. Then I placed the second orange circle farther above the first orange circle, and the other blue circle farther below the first. This works pretty well, your score should be around the mid- to low- two thousands.

Hope you beat the level! Good luck!

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Allie, thank you!!!! That level was driving me CRAZY!

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My strategy was simple--don't always try to fill all the goals at the same time. Level 15 was the only level I failed on the first try, because I was trying to do everything at once. The trick to this one is to put one set of colored discs about a quarter the distance away from their respective goals, and another set about halfway between the goals and the source. The three gray discs go in the upper right and lower right corners, and just to the right of the source. Tweak the arrangement until one of the goals is filled, then move the discs for the completed color closer to the source.

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Alex Miller Author Profile Page January 27, 2010 2:48 AM

Really enjoyed this one. A lot of attention to visuals and sound.

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Katherine January 27, 2010 4:08 AM

Really struggling with 20 here.

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This reminds me of Auditorium, except that Auditorium is good. The way you can

move forces around at any time and herd particles into the goal

was kinda lame.

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MmeTurbulence Author Profile Page January 27, 2010 8:30 PM

Here are some hints for each level.

Caveats abound: These are by far not the only solutions possible, and I don't promise they will result in the highest possible score. But, they will work if you're stuck.

Level 00

One disk above the generator and one below should fill both goals fairly quickly.

Level 01

One disk to the left and slightly above the generator, the other to the left and slightly below.

Level 02

One disk above the generator and one to the right. Now imagine a straight line between the generator and goal. Place one disk off to the right of that line and one disk to the left of that line, so that these two disks, the generator, and goal form a diamond shape.

Level 03

One disk directly above the generator, very close to it. One disk below the generator close to the bottom edge of the screen.

Level 04

This level can be solved with only three disks, but it doesn't hurt to use all five. Place the disks a little ways away from the generator evenly spaced in a semicircle around the left side of the generator.

Level 05

Place one disk so the generator, left goal, top goal, and disk form a diamond. Place a second disk below the generator, halfway between the generator and the bottom of the screen. The top goal should fill very quickly, and the left goal will soon follow. Once the left goal is full, place the third disk to the left of the generator.

Level 06

Put the two blue disks equally spaced in a line between the generator and goal. Put the purple disk and orange disk behind the generator. You do not need to use the grey disk to clear the level.

Level 07

Put the two purple disks equally spaced in a line between the generator and purple goal. Place a black disk beneath the generator, not quite halfway to the bottom of the screen.

Level 08

Fill the goals one at a time. Place all four disks very close to the generator in a semi-circle opposite one goal. This will cause the particles to leave the generator in a narrow dense stream. Once the first goal fills, shift the disks around so the stream is pointing at the second goal. You should end up with a score between 1500-2000.

Level 09

For each goal, place both disks of that color equally spaced in a line between the goal and generator.

Level 10

It is quite hard to describe in words how I solve this, so here, have an image.

Level 11

Place one of each color disk near to the generator and one about halfway between the first disk and the goal.

Level 12

Place the two purple disks in a line from the generator to the goal. Pick either orange or blue and place two disks of the same color in a line from the generator to the grey goal.

I know there is a faster way to do this, since my high score is 2600, and this method at best yields 2200 points, but I can't remember the more efficient method of solving it.

Level 13

Place the two blue disks equally spaced in a line going straight up from the generator. Place the orange disks below the generator in a line. You should earn more than 2000 points this way.

Level 14

Place the disks like so. The blue goal will fill relatively quickly, after which you can return the blue disks. Adjust the placement of the black disks so the stream is pointing at one goal, then after it fills, point the stream at the other goal. I managed a high of 1979 with this method.

Level 15

Start by placing the orange and purple disks between the goals and generator in a rough V shape. Place the thre black disks behind the generator in a semi-circle. Once the purple and orange fill up, move the purple and orange disks to the top and bottom of the screen and place the blue disks in a line between goal and generator. I had between 1300 and 1500 points on this level, depending on how quickly I did the initial setup of disks.

Level 16

I used this arrangement and scored 2050.

Level 17

Place the three black disks in a semi circle around the generator so the stream is pointing at the orange goal. Place one orange disk near the generator and one near the orange goal.

After the orange goal fills up, return the orange disks and rearrange the black disks so the particles are hitting both blue and purple goals. Put the blue and purple disks in lines from the generator to their respective goals.

My high score with this method was around 1000. The orange goal takes a loooong time to fill.

Level 18

Put a disk of the appropriate color between the generator and each goal. As soon as a goal fills, remove the disk next to it.

My high score was 2370.

Level 19

Place the three blue disks equally spaced in al ine from the generator to the blue goal. Repeat with orange. As each of the blue and orange goals fill adjust their disks slightly further away from the generator, to allow more particles freedom to move to the purple goals.

My high score was 2387.

Level 20

This is by far the hardest round. Start by arranging the black disks to form a funnel around the generator, so the particles all go towards the center goal. As soon as the center goal fills up, rearrange the disks so that the stream is more tightly aimed and the left middle goal, which should fill in a second or two after the center goal filled.

Now rearrange the disks to focus the stream at one of the remaining goals. As soon as it fills, focus the stream on the last goal.

Most of this level will depend on quick placement and rearranging of the disks and on generating a nice tightly-focused stream of particles. Keep tweaking the black disks until you can aim the funnel well.

My high score was a mere 890 points.

Level 21

Put two black disks to the left of the generator.

Put the three purple disks in a triangular formation around the purple goal.

Put a black disk below and to the right of the generator, so the stream of particles flows mostly toward the top left grey goal. This goal should fill quickly.

After the top left goal fills, move the black disk further down and to the right, almost to the bottom of the screen. Ad another black disk between the generator and the top goal. Most of the stream of particles should hit the lower grey goal, and what don't get caught up in that goal flow on towards the purple goal.

My best score on this level was 1500.

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timers are crutches for designers January 27, 2010 9:50 PM

very cool game, very slick and well thought out, except for the timer which as you stated is akin to a slap in the face while enjoying art. fine if the designer wants to make it more 'exciting' or have pointless competition then have that be an option, but short timelines and especially beeping buzzers just make me annoyed and abandon otherwise good games.

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Katherine January 28, 2010 4:14 AM

No matter what I do I can't get them to go to the top one on level 20 >_

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not sure how relevant this is but, isn't it a counter rather than a timer? as in, there are 3000 particles to be released and the counter shows how many are left? nice game, I would agree it is relaxing, in my opinion the sounds and visuals make up for the frustratingly short time in which to solve it.

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Level 20 was tough, but the strategy I found seemed to work pretty well.

Position some of the discs loosely around the generator, but use one or two discs farther away to slow down and corral the particles towards one of the goals. And ignore the goal in the middle, since it'll probably end up being filled in the process of trying to fill the others.

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Anthony Mattox May 2, 2011 10:39 PM

Thanks for the review and all the great feedback.

I've just released a much improved version of the game for the iPad. There's more info about it on the site at http://pulsusgame.com and it's in the app store at http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/pulsus-hd/id427109171 . You can still play the flash game at http://www.pulsusgame.com/play/

Enjoy!

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