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Review: Telepaint – paint the town red, and every other color

A puzzle game of magic portals and walking paint buckets

Price: $2.99/£2.29
Version: 1.0
Size: 67.5 MB
Platform: iPhone and iPad
Developer: Acid Nerve

Your goal in Telepaint is to reunite sentient buckets of paint with their paintbrush friends. The only issue is that the paintbrushes are generally hidden in difficult-to-access spots, behind locked walls or across impassable chasms. Luckily in this paint-heavy universe, teleporting portals exist and you have control over then, allowing for creative and clever solutions to your brush-seeking problem.


Touching those colored dots will link them together as portals

Portals are a powerful tool, but of course there are rules to creating them. You can’t have fun without rules, after all. You can only create one pairing of portals at a time, and they can only exist between magical colored dots, predefined in each level. Tap one dot to open an entry portal and a second to create the exit portal. If you line them up correctly, your friendly neighborhood paint bucket will wander through one straight to the other. They’re not just for buckets, either: you can (and will) move all sorts of objects through these portals.

The controls are perfect for a touchscreen experience. There’s no finicky platforming here; the paint buckets plod forward of their own accord, on an inexorable path reminiscent of classic puzzle-platformer Lemmings. This automation leaves your fingers free to place portals and your brain free to contemplate where they should go.


If you don’t link the portals in the correct sequence, you’re done for

As the complexity of the levels increases, it can become difficult to position and reposition sets of portals quickly enough. Timing is pretty key when you need to, well, grab a pretty key. Luckily the game is presented in the style of an old TV set, complete with occasional static or color distortion effects. This also means a set of VHS-style controls across the bottom of the screen, allowing you to pause the action while you queue up the next set of portals or think about your next move. These controls are also used to rewind to the start if you mess up, or fast-forward to speed things up.

Style-wise the vintage TV look continues, and beyond that Telepaint is what you would get if Portal and Super Meat Boy had an iOS-based baby. Every time a portal is created it splashes paint wildly across the walls and floor, creating a satisfying color explosion that doesn’t serve any distinct purpose, but sure looks cool.


Telepaint splits its many unique levels over five ‘channels’

There are over 100 puzzles to work through, and the way the game gradually adds new mechanics just as you’re getting to grips with old ones means there’s always a new type of challenge to keep you from tiring of the same formula. Some of the more elaborate levels involve a lot of back and forth, moving and pushing and teleporting and trying again. It can get a little tiresome, but that’s the price for tough puzzles.

It’s worth noting that all the movements in the game sync up to the soundtrack, so you can puzzle-solve to the beat as each paint bucket waddles rhythmically through the level with a kind of choppy swagger. This can be useful as some of the levels require precise timing if you want to succeed.


Pausing the action for a quick breather shows VHS-style scan-lines

Ultimately, Telepaint is a creative entry into the rapidly expanding puzzle-platformer genre. Though it’s influenced by a number of existing games, the sum of those parts is something unique and perfectly suited to iOS. Buckets better than watching paint dry.