The Tree of Life
The Tree of Life is an inventory-based puzzle game from Target Detected. Throughout the game's set of nearly 30 levels, you'll place arrows, element changers, teleporters, etc. on the pathways, guiding your element to collect all of the stars before heading to the exit. It can be tricky navigating some of the game's more sprawling levels, but you didn't expect restoring life to an ancient tree would be an easy affair, did you?
The Tree of Life's story places three space-traveling elements on a quest to help out the sickly tree of life. These elements play a big role in the actual game, creating doors that can only be opened by changing the character's properties via elemental icons. Each scene begins frozen in time, just waiting for you to add an object or two. Use the mouse to grab and place items from the inventory and either click the "go" button or use the [spacebar] to start and stop the action.
Arrows on the ground dictate where the little element travels, and most levels have a few locked in place before you even begin. Pink arrows are immovable, but green arrows can be changed to point in different directions even while the game is active. Figuring out how to use these on-the-fly arrows in conjunction with elemental doors is what you'll spend most of your time doing in this puzzle game, and it'll take a lot of planning and a lot of trial and error to get the job done!
Analysis: Changing arrows. Doors that can only be passed by certain elements. Inventory items that can be set anywhere on the screen. The Tree of Life uses a number of common themes in the puzzle gaming world, set in a pleasantly innocent world of space-traveling sentient elements. They're apparently not all that intelligent, though, as you have to do most of the work for them, dropping and adjusting inventory items to tweak their behaviors so they collect every star and land safely in the exit.
The main drawback to The Tree of Life is how the puzzles become more complex. There can be a fine line between increasing difficulty by creating genuinely challenging puzzles and by multiplying the size of the puzzles. The Tree of Life follows the latter (which, in fairness, most games do), adding complications through repetition instead of forcing you to think your way out of situations. You pretty much use the same set of skills you picked up in the first ten levels throughout the game, you just change the setting and use them in different ways.
Despite coming across as a bit predictable in design, The Tree of Life is enjoyable, and the puzzles do provide some challenge as the levels progress. Plus, you get that warm fuzzy feeling of restoring life to the tree of life. How often do you get do to that?!