The unanticipated delay in firing up the ol' Large Hadron Collider has given people across the world a shot at being the first to observe the elusive Higgs Boson. Stepping up to the plate for the casual gaming crowd is Dan Russell-Pinson (Block Drop, Tipping Point), with his new game, aptly named Collider.
Using proprietary physics simulation technology, Collider lets you in on the particle-smashing action! Simply annihilate all charged particles by crashing the positive ones into the negative ones. Each of the 25 levels contains a number of positionable particles, which you must place above the eerie green overlay, as well as particles which cannot be moved directly. Once you've placed all the particles, click Play (or hit [Space]) to start them in motion, then just wait and watch. Hit [Space] again to reset if, like the LHC, your mission of collision is a vision of derision and you're wishin' for remission!
Watching particles drop may not exactly sound like a killer game waiting to happen, but Dan throws in a few quirks that quickly turn the game into a puzzle-solving endeavor along the lines of Color Infection. Rolling particles across colored switches activates various levers, platforms, pinwheels, and other moving elements, and colliding particles of different sizes will leave some leftovers after annihilation for you to clean up. Most levels are designed such that many solutions are possible, but there's one "intended" solution that's more elegant than the rest, which is exactly how physics puzzlers should be designed. Only a handful of levels require copious fine-tuning of particle positions, but that doesn't mean that the rest will be a breeze. Some thinking required, although no level should require a Ph.D. in high energy physics. However, in case you do get stuck there are links to the solutions available right in the game.
The spacey music and sound effects clash against the rusty patina of the pipes and the various dingy backgrounds, suggesting a post-apocalyptic environment in which all this colliding is perpetrated. The music is actually quasi-random and is regenerated at the beginning of each level, so it should never weary your ears.
Apparently, Dan never got the message that particles need to collide at velocities pretty durn close to the speed of light in order to be of any use. Often the particles just crawl along, and while it might be nice to have a magic button that speeds things up, such a feature — like the notorious Boson — remains elusive. Aside from that, there's really little to complain about with Collider, and a whole lot to like. So while he may not be out there finding a unified theory of everything, Dan does a pretty good job at making a superb casual game.
Thanks for the suggestion, David and Dan!