The best puzzle games make you think in different ways. They're not just about manipulating coloured pieces into the correct combinations - they're about twisting your brain in just the right way to make sense of what's in front of you.
Polymer is both familiar and obscure at the same time. It's a mix of old mechanics and fresh ideas that forces you to consider each move you make carefully, and finely tunes its balance between frustration and revelation.
The game is a variation on the sliding picture puzzle. Your screen is filled with horizontal and vertical rows of shapes. You can move each horizontal row horizontally and each vertical row vertically.
The globby shapes have a set number of sides with small black semi-circles on them. Your job is to connect pieces into complete shapes, so that there are none of these edge markers showing. You have to swipe and slide the rows around, making connections and finding chains.
Of course, larger polymers require far more intricate manipulation - you have to slide rows around to bring the shapes you need into play while avoiding splitting up the ones you've already built. Things get fiendish pretty quickly, and it's your own machinations that have lead you there.
Slide to play
There are three different modes to take on. 2 Minutes gives you that long to make as many chains of shapes as you can, One Polymer gives you an infinite amount of time to build the longest polymer, and Bombs gives you one piece with a ticking clock in its centre that you have to get rid of before it explodes.
There's certainly plenty of content, and a lot of extra shapes and aesthetic schemes to unlock as you play. The measured, cerebral pace won't be for everyone, but fans of logic puzzles will be in heaven.
Polymer is that rare thing - a puzzle game that feels new and fresh. There's something cathartic about its mix of thought, creation, and destruction, and while it will enable you to twist your brain into impossible knots it's still an impressive, enjoyable break from the match-three norm.
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