Developer: Kenny Sun
Platform: iPhone & iPad
Yankai’s Peak is quite unlike any other puzzler you might have played before – even if you’re familiar with developer Kenny Sun’s previous work.
Sun has made quite a name for himself with bracingly fresh puzzlers like Circle Infinity and Yankai’s Triangle. The main traits his games share are an experimental spirit and a tendency towards garishly abstract visuals.
Basically, you shouldn’t put any money on a Kenny Sun match-three puzzler appearing on the App Store any time soon. Not while the developer is turning out such memorably brilliant efforts as Yankai’s Peak, at any rate.
The game grants you direct control of a blue equilateral triangle across a series of tight, angular grids. Using your triangle, you must shunt, flick, and rotate a series of other triangles into their colour-coded pens.
While you can freely shuffle across the grid in any direction, you’ll need to anchor one of your triangle’s three points in order to be able to rotate and lever the other shapes into position.
It’s the unorthodox interplay between these triangles that really makes Yankai’s Peak the beguiling head scratcher that it is. You can feel fresh neural pathways being burned into your brain as you absorb unfamiliar yet vital techniques.
There’s the trusty ability to rotate multiple triangles like a carousel by pinning the ‘middle’, and the counter-intuitive technique of rotating your triangle away in order to flick the edge of another and draw it into a new position.
It takes a relatively long time for these moves to click, and for trial-and-error to shift to well-thought-out plan. But during this process you’ll be kept from giving up by Yankai’s Peak’s pleasingly tactile controls and its surprisingly forgiving structure.
You’re never penalised for wrong moves here. There are no arbitrary movement limits or undo quotas, and you can preview the effect of each move with a careful half-drag. What’s more, on those occasions where you get truly stuck – and there will be plenty – the game typically offers you the ability to head off and try some other puzzles.
Even when you’re in the midst of despair trying to figure out the solution to a particular level, Yankai’s Peak’s soothing abstract visuals will keep you from quitting in disgust. It really does achieve an awful lot with blocks of color and simple shapes.
Yankai’s Peak is a game for hardened puzzle fans, but it’s far from an alienating experience. Its tactile controls, beautiful visuals and generous structure make it an easy recommendation for anyone looking for something a little bit different.
- Beautiful abstract visuals
- Distinctive puzzle mechanics
- Choice of levels helps mitigate frustration
- Can be very tough
- Takes a while to click
- Level info flicks by a little too quickly