Developer: Pawel Delimata
Size: 154 MB
Platform: iPhone & iPad
In Blask 2, developer Pawel Delimata’s gently taxing physics puzzler sequel, you’re tasked with bouncing colored laser beams into a handful of waiting receptors.
You achieve this by repositioning and rotating the various components of a 2D light-emitting machine, in a manner that’s somewhat reminiscent of a paper collage. The components of each puzzle might contain the lasers or the receptors themselves, or else some other piece of level furniture.
Regardless of the shape or function of these pieces, each one contains reflective walls, which disappear when overlapped with another shape. Combined with the capacity for free rotation, you can subtly adjust the path each laser beam travels – though they will only stand to be redirected three times.
Before long, you’ll encounter variations on these basic rules, such as components that are pinned in place so that they can only be rotated around a single point.
Blask 2’s light-reflecting gameplay runs the gamut between gently absorbing and hair-pullingly frustrating. This is no linear path either, with a couple of early levels leaving us stumped for quite a while, followed by a series of mercifully straight-forward puzzles.
Part of this challenge comes down to the lack of a rigid, set solution to Blask 2’s puzzles. You’re free to move its reflective pieces around at will, and we only occasionally got the impression that we had solved a puzzle the prescribed way.
However, this free-wheeling vibe has its downsides. When you can’t see your way to a solution, you’ll often find yourself resorting to mindless trial and error rather than thoughtful experimentation. It’s a thin line that the game constantly treads, and not always successfully.
Another source of frustration comes from Blask 2’s occasionally wobbly controls, particularly on a compact iPhone display. We found that the game wouldn’t always pick up on which piece we were trying to grab, or would fail to recognise our two-fingered rotation input. Sometimes, when one component is completely subsumed by a another, it’s impossible to extricate it without a level reset.
These issues disappear on the larger screen of the iPad, which has the side benefit of showing off the game’s minimal but effective graphical style.
Stick at it, though, and Blask 2 reveals itself to be a puzzle game with the rare capacity for indulging states of both zoned-out bliss and studied concentration.