Sequels to fantastic works are oftentimes charged with the delicate task of only evolving a finite amount. Change too much, and they're accused of losing what made the original a classic; change too little, and they're found guilty of not innovating enough, of resting on the haunches of their ancestor's popularity. It's nice to come across a sequel every now and again that does its sterling predecessor proud, and Ozzie Mercado's follow-up to his ingeniously simple puzzle game is so much more than a tune-up and a fresh coat of paint. This is enDice Complete, a true test of dice-shifting deftness and skill.
The goal is simple. Each die can make a number of moves equivalent to the number on its face, and it's your job to make sure that every die ends up in one of the square-shaped "zones" by the time it's expended all of its moves. Click on a die to select it, then drag your mouse in a direction and release to slide the die in that direction. [U] undoes the last move, and can erase as many missteps as you'd like leading right back to the start. This game doesn't sound too tricky, but keep in mind that dice are capable of pushing each other should the situation call for it, not to mention the adroit yellow dice that can vault effortlessly over other dice, and the stalwart orange dice that refuse to be pushed.
For a game that lets you in the door with a charming grin and a promise of simplicity, as soon as the door closes behind you, the smile fades, and the pale eyes glisten crimson. It doesn't take long for the difficulty to increase, and when it does, you'll be able to tell. On that note, however, this is an excellent game to get a group of friends around to suggest other ideas or possible solutions. The game takes all of mere moments to explain, and then your accomplice will look over your shoulder and say "Well, then why don't you just...oh, I suppose that wouldn't work..." and so on. There's something mesmerizing about the game's duality of conceptual straightforwardness and devious level design.
And if the puzzles here aren't diabolical enough for you, then there's a brand new level editor for purposes of designing the most maddening dice conundrums you can conjure. There's even a system that boils your design down to a numeric code that can be given to all your friends (who will be as serious about this as you are). Some unlockables exist, like a level-editor-solver and different color themes, but my eyes had grown too adjusted to the initial palette for the alternate themes to be anything but muddling. Add some catchy, non-distracting background music and simple-as-can-be visuals, and you get a sequel that handily eludes the shadow of its progenitor while simultaneously delivering a fun and accessible, though at times dizzyingly challenging experience.