If we were to categorize games, we could do so by a lot of parameters and there are so many genres that our head might start spinning if we were to name them all. But there is a very simple way to split games into two distinct categories: there are fast-paced and slow-paced games. If you would like something that isn’t all about reaction times and heart-pumping action, then you came to the best place. This month we recommend a brand new puzzle game that is not only stunning, but can also steal away quite a lot of work hours from your life. Read our review to get to know Afterloop for Android:
Free your mind!
Usually when we hear about puzzle games nowadays, we tend to think about Bejeweled-clones and the like, each of them offering the same gameplay, with slightly varied graphics and bringing nothing new to the genre. Fortunately, Afterloop is a very different game, even though it fits into the same genre.
This puzzler comes from the small indie game developer studio eXiin, founded and run by only two people: Seb and Sam. These two guys managed to bring back one of our favourite puzzle games with some nice twists and several modern additions. The gameplay of a pure classic puzzle-type game blends perfectly with the modern atmosphere, graphics and features, creating a truly awesome mobile game - which is, by the way, available for both iOS and Android (w e’ve tested the Android version).
Do you remember an old, classical puzzle game named Sokoban ? It is a type of transport puzzle, in which the player pushes boxes or crates around in a warehouse, trying to get them to storage locations. This game had many different implementations on possibly every imaginable platform, so we’re quite sure you have at least seen, or possibly played, a Sokoban-like game before.
Afterloop is something very similar, but still different. Our avatar, the main character we control, is a robot called PR8 that is on a journey to save its siblings. You are the one responsible for getting him through the levels and freeing other robots on your way. The game is essentially one gigantic labyrinth with over 300 levels of varying difficulty.
Each level is a small game very similar to a game of Sokoban , where you are presented with a puzzle: on a level there are a number of crates you can push in a direction, depending on the markings on the crate. Some crates can be pushed only vertically, others only horizontally, while there are some that can be pushed both ways.
The goal of every level is to reach the exit by pushing the crates away to clear a path. Of course this gets more and more complicated as your progress through the levels. Space is always limited, so you might want to think twice before you make that push. After a while linked crates will appear: crates with the same color move together, even if they are far away from each other. This means that if you push a yellow crate to the left, all other yellow crates will move to the left, no matter where they are - if they are not blocked by another crate or a wall of course.
If adjacent crates can move in the same direction, you can push more of them at the same time, thus creating blocks of crates - these additional properties create some really hard puzzles, where there is only a single specific set of moves that lets you finish a given level.
The game can be played in four different modes: Adventure , Collect Mania , Time Attack and Perfect Moves. Adventure is the basic mode and you have to complete a level in this mode in order to be able to play it in other modes. Here you can collect stars on the levels (three on each), and if you collect enough stars, you will get a key.
After a certain set of levels, the next set is behind a locked door, so you will need to collect a minimum number of stars in order to progress to the next phase of the game with the help of keys. Sometimes you won’t be able to pick up all stars by solving the level’s puzzle, you have to do additional moves, maybe even ones that would otherwise make you fail the level. No worries, you can restart any level as many times as you want, and you can even undo steps a couple of times by using time coins.
In Collect Mania you have to pass through every tile of the level, in Time Attack you need to complete the level in a certain amount of time, while in Perfect Moves you have a limited number of pushes to complete the level.
The levels are interconnected with corridors, and after each level you can collect bits, which can be used to purchase extras, like the solution for a level you’re stuck on, time coins, or increase time coins limit. You can also go back and forth between levels, so you don’t have to do them sequentially.
Welcome to a magical world
On some levels there are magical crates that need to be pushed on a platform in order to bring down the walls of the level and open the way forward. These are quite rare, but provide an interesting additional puzzle.
Your avatar is a funny little robot called PR8 that is very happy each time you complete a level, gets sad if you make an irrevocable mistake on a level, and is generally good to look at. He can be customized with dozens of skins - some of these are awarded for your performance, while others can be bought for bits or real money.
Yes, there are in-app purchases in Afterloop , but fortunately all of them are really gamer-friendly, and don’t ruin the gaming experience, by making the game pay-to-win. You can buy skins for PR8, bits and time coins or increase time coins limit, but even if you don’t wish to spend any money, the game still remains absolutely playable, the purchases don’t offer any unfair advantage. The single annoying side-effect of these are the notifications the game sends from time to time - these are not very welcome, and more of an annoyance than a helpful thing.
The world in Afterloop is beautiful and magically crafted, with landscapes ranging from green forests and lush jungles to barren deserts and volcanic ashlands. This is accompanied by very discreet sound effects and a musical score that doesn’t get annoying even in the long run. The whole game world is very welcoming and lovely, and it has no violence at all, which makes Afterloop a great choice for your kids as well.
And if you’re a completionist, it is good to know that the game not only measures the time and number of pushes it takes to complete a level, but also offers statistics, and, since it has Google Play Games Services implemented, you can compare your scores with your friends or everyone else playing the game. There are no fewer than 23 achievements to unlock as well.
It is good to know that gaming nowadays doesn’t come down only to speed, fast-paced battles, action and violence. One can only rejoice when coming across a game like Afterloop. In many ways it is similar to The Path to Luma we’ve reviewed earlier, as there we also had a robot-like entity to control, puzzles to solve, and a magical world to explore.
Fortunately these are all positive similarities, and Afterloop adds a lots more to this. The puzzles somehow don’t become repetitive and it’s fun to go from level to level and see other robots get freed thanks to your skills. In terms of content, we can have no complaints: there are 300 levels that can be solved in four game modes, which adds up to a total of 1200 different experiences to go through. Combined with a vast and colorful world, a matching musical score and many other small, but very nice features like the undo, they make Afterloop a game that can easily become the favorite of anyone, no matter their age or political preference. Go ahead and push some boxes!