You know what an arrow maze is, don't you? It's one of those funky games with a grid and arrows, and you need to follow the direction of the arrows to accomplish...well, whatever the game wants you to accomplish. We've seen them in hidden-object/adventure hybrids, in room escape games, heck, there's even one in ClickPLAY 3. Tonypa, that fiendish deviser of deceptively simple games has built an entire puzzle game around this basic concept. Check out Jorinapeka and brace yourself for some serious time suckage. Office managers around the country are already crying into their half-caf mocha lattes.
There's a 7 x 7 grid, and in this grid are 49 balls, each with a semi-circle indicating which direction it will go. All you have to do is pick a ball, click on it, and watch it move. As it hits other balls it will eat them like a demented pac-man, changing direction according to their semi-circle indicators. The objective? Well, there are colored balls in the grid, and the object is to remove all of the colored balls. Sounds easy? Did I mention that you only have five turns per level? Or that although you start out with three colored balls, more gets added each level? Ever try to remove a dozen or more colored balls from a maze like this in only five moves? Give it a try, I dare you. And oh, yeah, you can't click on the colored balls. Well, you can, but nothing will happen because they don't move.
Points are racked up as a ball is consumed. The more balls you take out in one hit, the more points you can rack up. But, seriously, concentrate on getting those colored balls out first. It's terrible to set up a fantastic long chain and realize that no colored balls vanished, and you're left with one or two turns left and many more colored balls to remove. If that happens you may soon be experiencing the agony of defeat. An added challenge in the later levels is that some balls will drop into the grid with no directional arrows at all. These balls are "inert". They can be taken out by a moving ball, but you can't make them move with a click. Once the balls have vanished more drop in, increasing the possibility of setting up a better move for the next turn. Or not. Fortunately for the gamers' sanity there are a few bonuses available, such as gaining an extra turn if you destroy ten or more balls in a single shot. There are also four "hidden" bonuses which you may or may not discover as you play Jorinapeka. I'd tell you about them, but then Tonypa would have to kill me, and I want to get back to trying to get past level 10...
Analysis: As with all Tonypa games, the simple Jorinapeka concept conceals some devilishly deep gameplay. You will find yourself sitting there mapping out massive multiple moves, trying to determine which way the ball will go, trying to maximize the damage it does on the way, spending many minutes setting up a move that will only take seconds to execute. As you would expect with anything by Tonypa the design and setup is simple and elegant with clean, spare graphics. Adding to the addictive gameplay is the jaunty, bouncing clip by Kevin MacLeod which will burn itself indelibly into your neurons and will EAT YOUR BRAIN! I'll never get that tune out of my head...
Are there downsides aside from the fact that you are about to lose many hours off of your life? Well the difficulty curve in Jorinapeka is pretty steep. It might have been better to only add an extra ball every three or five levels. As it is, many players may have trouble getting past, say, level 5 on their first try. Or was that just me?
Despite the difficulty Jorinapeka is a game that just begs you to play it over and over, striving to reach that ever elusive "end". Although technically the game doesn't have one, it being open-ended and all. So the player still wants to keep trying to get a better score. Or trying to get the highest score. Or trying to find those four "hidden" bonuses. Or just trying to get past a certain level. Tonypa has once again given us cunningly executed casual gameplay exquisite in concept, design, and execution. And another national nightmare as productivity is swallowed whole by the need to play just one more time!