In the space themed puzzle game Eon by Fucrate (Michael Boxleiter), you take on the role of a daring, exciting, dashing... um, space miner. Okay, maybe it doesn't sound too daring or exciting, even if you do manage to cast Bruce Willis in the lead role (which isn't the case here), but Eon does manage to provide a beautiful puzzle experience that is as elegant in its technical design as it is in its pixelated visuals.
Your mission is a seemingly simple one. You must harvest the unnamed matter from gas planets, siphoning the colorful "stuff" (that's the technical term for it by the way) from the planet's atmosphere and directing it into the same colored energy absorbers placed about the star field. This is accomplished by placing a limited number of gravity wells on the board and moving them about as necessary until you are able to maintain at full capacity all of the absorbers in the level.
Like I said, it sounds simple, but as you soon learn, this can be trickier than it sounds. Long distances require a high level of accuracy, while multiple streams will force you to make delicate adjustments. Sometimes the trick is manipulating one stream without hindering the path of other streams, but more often than not you will need to get multiple streams to act in concert even while going in opposing directions. Further, as you progress you will also have to contend with the massive gravitational pull of black holes as well as cope with melding the matter from differently colored planets through mixers to make completely new streams of stuff that also need to be shepherded to their rightful places.
You'll cultivate and employ your gravity manipulating abilities over the course of twenty-seven progressively challenging levels. If that's not enough for you, don't worry; a level editor and unlimited user generated content await all who simply can't put this game down.
Analysis: You can't really talk about Eon without doing so in the context of the popular Auditorium with which Eon is uncannily similar. Both games are about indirectly manipulating the direction of flow. You aren't allowed to directly guide the subject matter, so instead you must operate the tools that in turn manipulate the subject matter.
Where Eon and Auditorium differ is in the nature of the supplied tools. Auditorium grants you a variety of tools that have a direct impact on the streams you wish to control. Eon, on the other hand, only offers you one type of tool and it effects not merely the streams but the very nature of the playing field itself. Every adjustment of a gravity well minutely shifts the physics of the entire board and all the matter in play. Thus Eon is at once simpler and potentially more complex than its spiritual cousin. Simpler in providing only one tool, but more complex in the implications of that tool on the playing field as a whole.
Thankfully, what Eon also has in common with Auditorium is a wonderful grace. This is because the very nature of playing Eon is a practice in organics and ergonomics. There is something exquisite behind a puzzle concept where your role is not to manhandle the pieces on the board so much as to coax and nudge, to guide and cultivate. It is like a digital bonsai tree; you clip and prune around the edges and let the puzzle solve itself, and while this might imply a lack of control it in fact gives the game a wonderfully natural feel.
The visuals support this inner elegance with a beautiful dichotomy of their own. Like many flash games, you are treated to big and blocky pixels, but the true aesthetic triumph here is how they move with such fluidity. Eon busts through a contradiction by taking the hard, sharp lines of squares and through motion giving them curves and flexibility. The downside to this kind of puzzle is that there's no such thing as a specific solution. You can often have the general shape of a level's solution but could spend seemingly forever making minor adjustments, sometimes to no avail. As a result, especially when you get on in the game, a good measure of patience is practically a necessity.
What makes Eon such a pleasure to enjoy is watching everything come together. Like a conductor overseeing an orchestra, you use your baton-like mouse to govern the forces of gravity, and when you have finally managed to guide all the streams correctly to their specific absorbers the symbiosis between mechanics and aesthetics fall into harmonic place.