Developer: Alike Studio
Platform: iPhone & iPad
Polo the alien is living a quiet life in a curiously Earth-like idyll when a gang of hooded thugs skulks in and kidnaps his blobby pet. That’s the cue for another irresistible adventure-puzzler from the maker of Love You To Bits.
While Alike Studio’s previous game rejigged the classic point-and-click adventure genre for the smartphone crowd, Bring You Home is a far more streamlined puzzler. It’s no less clever for it, though.
This time you’re directly manipulating a series of single-screen scenarios, essentially rewiring reality by flipping over sections of each scene and swiping to reorder events. It feels rather like a small child’s interactive book, which is a sensation that’s enhanced by some adorably animated cartoon graphics.
There’s method to this game’s cuteness, however. It’s up to you to unlock the correct sequence of elements to enable Polo to progress to the next scene, and get one step closer to his purloined pet.
Some scenes will require you to scroll between different items of screen furniture by swiping up and down on the relevant vertical slice. For example, you might need to line up the correct series of giant bouncy balls to spring Polo from one side of the screen to the other. This means eliminating a goldfish bowl, a clump of gum, and a painful spiked orb from your considerations.
Other levels will call on you to swipe those panels to the left or right in order to change the order of events – causing Polo to climb a ladder over a hazardous bin, for example.
The game’s biggest flaw is the inherent trial-and-error nature of many of these puzzles. Bring You Home’s inventive, random humor can work against the game, as any semblance of logical puzzle solving is thrown out of the window in favor of another visual gag.
At its worst, you’ll find yourself methodically grinding through random combinations of screen elements in a bid to stumble upon the solution. Combined with the vertical tumbler-like mechanic, it can feel like the safe combination lock of some billionaire child genius.
Fortunately, Bring You Home goes a long way to mitigating frustration through the sheer quality and inventiveness of each vignette. In most case, you’ll actually want to cycle through all of the available permutations in order to see how things play out. It’s rarely how you expect, and the game even provides little rewards for exploring its various fail states. This is one of those rare games in which you’ll enjoy failure just as much as success.
Bring You Home isn’t the kind of game that will sate those after a logically cohesive hardcore puzzler. Its experimental conundrums frequently border on the nonsensical. But for those who appreciate an expertly executed slice of whimsy, this is a lovely box of silly treats.
- Creative scenarios
- Delightful presentation
- Interesting scene-manipulation mechanic
- Too much trial-and-error