Simogo's latest appeared out of the blue, but the bigger surprise was the kind of game we got.

The company that's for the past two years excelled in mashing up narrative, adventure gaming and identity, playing with the conventions of all of those things, released a puzzle game.

Not only that, but the puzzle game's aesthetics appeared to have beamed in from a ZX Spectrum, circa 1982.

Although they're an acquired taste, there's a certain charm in the minimal graphics and beepy soundtrack. The puzzling itself also has a kind of retro streak, in that it's unforgiving.

Almost the antitheses of Threes! and its friendly little cards you swipe about, SPL-T is more interested in punching your brains in - this is not an easy game to grasp.

A B-T TR-CKY

To be fair, there are instructions. The rules involve placing alternating splits on the screen. The areas gradually get smaller until a threshold is reached, whereupon they fill with numbers relating to how many splits have so far been made.

A countdown then begins, the numbers reducing by one for every turn you take. When a square's number hits zero, it vanishes, potentially bringing in empty spaces from the top.

Only it's a bit more complicated than that, due to the manner in which numbered squares can be made in groups, with split squares adding to each turn's points tally, and the way in which numbers halve when squares fall into empty space.

Initial games are little more than bafflement as you attempt to wrap your head round the rules and figure out a strategy for long-term survival.

TRUE GR-T

After a couple of weeks, I'm still not sure I'm entirely there. The game feels rather more restrictive than the very best of its contemporaries - almost as if there's a perfect maximum to reach.

It is, however, compelling, and there are a few secrets to find, as you might expect from Simogo.

There are a few odd decisions too. The developers have noted they want every game to count, and for distractions to be minimised. Thus, there's no Game Center support, and no quit button.

The former's an odd choice in a high-score chaser, although the latter at least makes you think, rather than giving in to the temptation to restart when making an error.

The lack of save states is infuriating, though, so make sure you play games all the way through, or you'll have a nasty surprise on returning to your temporarily abandoned 30,000-point game, only to find the tiny robot at the top of the screen above an empty board.