Developer: kunabi brother
Size: 421 MB
Platform: iPhone & iPad
Update! In March 2020, Euclidean Skies received a major update to version 1.5, which brought with it an Endless Mode and a new Tutorial section, among other improvements. It’s also reduced in price from $5/£5. With that in mind, we felt it would be a good time to revisit Kunabi Brother’s mind-bending puzzler.
How does it play today? The new tutorial section eases you into the game well, and the Endless Mode introduces a hefty does of procedurally generated longevity. But the orientation controls are still a little finicky, as is the frame rate on our old iPhone X. We’d still recommend the game as a sort of next-level step up from Monument Valley 2, though it’s not as intuitive or polished, and familiar irritations remain.
Revised rating: Still a beautiful, clever, if slightly frustrating puzzler. ★★★★
Our original review, written in November 2018, is presented in its entirety below.
Euclidean Skies doubles down on everything we loved about Euclidean Lands. Despite being a bigger, prettier, more complex game, though, it doesn’t prove to be quite as satisfying.
Just like the first game, Euclidean Skies is a tasty jambalaya made from bits and pieces of the very best iOS puzzlers. It’s got the surreal perspective tinkering of Monument Valley, the stealthy turn-based combat of the GO series, and the isometric perspective of both.
Each puzzle is a three-dimensional cluster of blocks with its own planetary gravity system. You must guide a resident warrior to the level exit, which may be on a completely different plane to the one you’re on.
Movement involves tapping to move along one block at a time, but you can also physically rotate sections of the world like a Rubik’s Cube in order to place your character on the same plane as a switch or doorway.
There are also enemies to vanquish. In each confrontation, you must approach from the side or back, which often requires some cunning Chess-like forethought. You can even crush some of them in the mechanisms of a level, which is satisfying.
In all of this, Euclidean Skies feels very similar to its predecessor. Which is to say that it’s a thoroughly beguiling, deviously clever puzzler. But it also strives to take each element to the next level, which occasionally proves to be its undoing.
The first thing you’ll notice is the graphics. Out goes the simple, sparsely textured surfaces of Euclidean Lands. In comes a richly detailed yet surreal art style that almost resembles a Salvador Dali painting.
The architecture is much more curvy and grandiose here, while some levels have you clambering among the hulking remains of a long-dead beast. It’s quite beautiful, and a little creepy.
Unfortunately, these levels are also a lot tougher to parse. Combined with the more detailed art style, puzzles are generally more complex than before, with multiple moving components and potential axes of movement.
Euclidean Skies very quickly gets rather bewildering, and it’s perilously easy to get yourself lost with one rotation too many. All too often we found ourselves resorting to random, almost frenzied swipes to bring about a solution – kind of like your first attempt at solving a Rubik’s Cubes as a child.
The controls, too, can seem a little imprecise. We often found ourselves rotating the wrong pieces along a completely different axis to the one intended. This was on an iPhone X, so we can only imagine how fiddly it might be on an older, smaller model.
While we’re on the subject, we experienced noticeable and persistent framerate drops whilst playing. Given the still-untapped power of last year’s flagship phone, that’s a worry.
Through all of this, Euclidean Skies remains a beguiling and deeply challenging puzzler. But in heading for the skies, the fledgling series has run into a little turbulence.