Bored of stacking, sliding and busting blocks? Then why not have a stab at linking them instead!
That’s the premise behind Connexions, the latest frustratingly addictive head-hurter to hit your mobile.
Like all great puzzle games (and this one is certainly on its way to such lofty status), the challenge is relatively simple. There are a series of pairs of coloured squares (3 pairs initially) placed apparently randomly on a grid which you have to link together with chains. Prove successful within the given time frame and the connexions all light up and the blocks disappear to be replaced by a smiley face and a score update before another challenge is thrown your way.
Sounds deceptively simple doesn’t it? And indeed it would be but for the fact that in Connexions, as in Ghostbusters (and for that matter Blockbusters), you aren’t allowed to ‘cross the streams’. Hence, your simple colour-coded journey from A to B routinely involves more turns than the Indy 500.
In the blurb they liken the game to Sudoku, but to be honest the mechanic actually has more in common with those 80s plastic puzzles where you had a series of oddly shaped piece that you had to fit into a perfect rectangle with only one solution proving correct.
Assuming your childhood was less sad than mine though, the point I’m trying to make is that much like that 80s puzzle and sort of like Sudoku, this isn’t a game that you’ll probably ‘get’ straightaway. For most of us (and I do speak for myself) the first few tries will be frustrating as you simply don’t understand how it’s possible to solve even the supposedly simplest of setups and are all too soon faced with the multi-coloured ‘game over!’ message and. However, with a combination of experimentation and consideration, something suddenly clicks replacing your frustrations with a wonderfully smug satisfaction. From that point you’re hooked and will spend at least the rest of the day if not most of the ensuing week searching for complex patterns and pathways in the fastest time possible as you vie for top score and the coveted level of ‘genius’.
It’ll be a tough route too, as the difficulty level steadily ramps up with bigger boards and more pairs of coloured blocks so that even when the clock times are lengthened to 8 minutes the pressure is always on and you’ll be glad you stored up that bonus time by finishing easier levels super quickly!
Talking of time limits, the length of each challenge is absolutely perfect for mobile gaming, fitting into any handy gap in your schedule, whilst the control system is so simple and robust that you can play it on even the least game-friendly handset whilst simultaneously being jostled on the tube and possibly juggling (provided you can do the latter with one hand!)
The music turns from pensive to annoyingly chirpy when you win (but can be turned down or off), the visuals are best described as functional, and the save game option is annoyingly hidden, you basically have to quit and then you can resume game (if only I’d know my score of 8000 would have been preserved – honest!). Neither of these is sufficient to put a dampener on what is a well-balanced, compelling head-hurter that deserves a place at the fiendishly designed top table of puzzle games.