Color Instinct, a physics puzzler by Lilley Design, looks innocent and simple when you first start it. You get to play with colourful bouncy balls and tiny little stars, and isn't it great to feel like you're in kindergarten again? But the game goes pretty quickly from "I can do this with my eyes closed" to asking your entire household to help you beat a level. The catch is that it seems so easy and straightforward that you can't afford to admit defeat, because if you do, you're the person who couldn't beat a bouncy ball game. To start your arduous journey, simply click to shoot the ball out of its pod and try to collect all the stars. You can only pick up a star with a ball of the same colour, and that's where the fun (or torture) begins.
It would be sort of unfair to say too much about the mechanics, because part of the game's charm lies in discovering them on your own. The basics go like this: if you shoot a ball into a coloured pod, the ball will change colour accordingly. If there are coloured walls or other objects, the ball will go through them if it's the same colour, or bounce off them if it's not. Not all pods are the same; some have limited uses, some shoot more than one ball, and some will let you pick the size of the ball. New elements are introduced right until the very end, and the learn-as-you-go process makes the puzzle solving harder.
Every level asks you to think a little differently, so there's often quite a bit of trial and error until you realise what you have to do. But that just makes beating levels that much more rewarding, and shouting "in your face, game!" oh so satisfying. Color Instinct will keep you busy, frustrated and wonderfully challenged throughout the twenty-seven levels (plus five bonus ones), and your brain will ultimately thank you for it. Plus, if you end up liking its cleverly nefarious modus operandi, you can always inflict more of the same on the world in the level editor.