PEGBRJE: reky and Six Match
reky is a spatial puzzle game made by beyondthosehills, a duo indie studio out of Greece with assistance from Konstantinos Sfikas for Architectural Design. Within, players must master the art of block movement and colours in order to reach the portal to the next level so that our little blob friend can escape this minimalistic block contraption.
Upon starting reky, players are met with 5 basic rules shown in a mini tutorial with permanent animations to reference. The first two revolve around the player’s ability to move the bouncing blob by clicking to a place on the map — if this place is the portal and it can reach, the blob jumps in and the level ends. Rule three begins the basics of block movement, as clicking on the side (not the top, it must be the side) of a coloured block will move it to a new location, and clicking it again will return it to its origin. Blocks cannot be moved while the blob is present, and white blocks are completely stationary. The fourth and fifth rule is where the fun begins, for if a player is on a coloured block and a side is visible to them, the blob will absorb the colour into itself and become able to move said colour to a different block. This colour manipulation to manipulate blocks is the core of how players will solve problems, as they will need to figure out which direction blocks will go upon being ‘lit up’ so to speak. Different colours will also create different behaviours within the blocks, so figuring out which colour is needed to move the blocks in a certain way is critical.
These five rules are the entirety of the game’s logic; players now know everything they need to know about the game to solve all ninety-six puzzles. Yet it’s this simplicity and efficiency that allows for ingenuity, constantly coming up with different scenarios for placing blocks in situations that require more thought than expected when I start a new level. There’s also the points system as well, where there are an expected amount of ‘moves’ to finish each level, but no way of seeing them until the level has been finished. Attempting to limit the amount of moves done is critical to max out this score, and is instantly terrifying to see the score screen state I used more moves than necessary to the point of wanting to restart and see where I messed up.
Combine this excellence in design with an aesthetic reminding me of those instructional videos from the Portal franchise, and reky just feels good to play. The music is soothing, the audio feedback for movements is fantastic (especially when it inverts for undo-ing moves) and the vibrant colours match the plain black/white blocks quite nicely. If you want a soothing yet challenging puzzle game involving a bouncy circle, this is definitely one to try.
Six Match is a match-3 fusion made by st33d, an indie dev with an extensive list of titles worked on either individually or with their company. For this one, players are a cute little dice figure named Mr. Swap With Coins (on the nose, ain’t it) who has been placed onto a mystical poker-themed board with the sole goal of matching three or more colours within a row. The caveat? It needs to be in six moves or less.
As Mr. Swap With Coins, players will be doing exactly that with their six moves; each time they move, the coin on the spot moves to where the player was in a swap. Since the player isn’t a coin to be ‘removed’, it actually took me quite a bit to get used to the difference in moveset, even if it doesn’t necessarily look like there is any. The player needs to ensure that they are able to move to the location without accidentally moving a piece crucial to the match, unlike in many titles where the player doesn’t exist on the board as an entity. This is then made even more tricky thanks to the six move limit, which forces players to think about how they are able to make a match in six regardless of whether or not it is ‘optimal’. Getting a match resets the number back to six, becoming a game of stringing together moves so that the game can possibly go forever if the stars align properly.
Now this is where things begin to deviate a bit, which can be hinted at thanks to the overall poker aesthetic. Each time players match a coin set, they gain a card that is put into their hand at the bottom. Upon reaching five cards, there will be a check to see if there are any poker hands within — if there are, bonus points are awarded and the five cards are wiped from the hand to be filled by new ones. This can incentivize players to make many matches of the same coin colour to greatly enhance their point count, but this does play into the hand of ‘accidentally running out of turns’ aspect. To this end, the game gives a hint system to help players whenever they get stuck, either due to wanting five blue coins at once or just because they cannot find a match. At the beginning of each game, three hints are given for free to understand the title, and after that six are stockpiled on the right to be used whenever stuck. These hints will always take into account how many moves the player has left, and if there are any will simply give a bomb that can blow up the column when moved. If there are no hints left, then players are left with a final choice; find a match on their own, or cash out.
There are tons of other things I failed to cover with Six Match, like the different coin types that need to be on the bottom to actually disappear, or ones that can drag an entire row instead of swapping. The overall consensus is, however, that this game is addicting as heck; the fact that it’s infinite coupled with the poker-style points and finite moves gives that age old ‘just one more turn’ feeling as you attempt to figure out where to go next. Thankfully the game is saved automatically and players can come back to it at any time, but you may not find yourself leaving the board — especially if you love Match-3 titles. Even if you don’t, there’s a good chance of being sucked into the board and seeing how far you can go. Good luck, and remember that cashing out isn’t a bad idea if you blink and the time goes from 10pm to 3am.
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