With a black drenched title screen that gives a wink to DOS history, simian.interface offers up a subtly complicated promise. What you see is not exactly what you'll get, and within the simplest commands rests a multitude of depth. Chillingo is describing the game as a "spatial puzzler," but these words are just an entry way to a cerebral and viscerally enervating escapade.
One of gaming's most important elements is the power of thought and imagination, and those skills can be sharpened with a few rounds of simian.interface. The app's innovation begins with a refreshingly arrogant conceit, as no tutorials or descriptions will help you start the journey. You are just one of the elevated primates tasked with solving an array of intricate puzzles. Some may require you to fill out the colors of a square, while others demand the proper balance of various lines and shapes that are littered across your screen. Although most of these challenges took me a few moments to figure out, a select few kept me perplexed for minutes on end.
The easier challenges require a merging of colors into a simple shape, and in the photo below, once my square is filled with white, I can move on to the next puzzle.
To move items around, slide your fingers across the screen and manipulate the surroundings at your leisure. Tilt controls are also available for users who prefer a vise like grip on their respective device, but I had a much better handle on the game using the touch and drag method. Still, this choice is really contingent upon a person's own approach to iOS gaming, as I usually only choose the tilt mechanic with driving games. When I'm faced with random cat pictures with random command prompts, I let my fingers do the walking.
If you love the beautiful images as well as the ambient, electronic score that accompanies simian.interface, immediately finishing your level won't be a high priority. This title relishes in its atmospheric feel, and it's easy to get lost within its aesthetic beauty and ignore the puzzle all together.
The developers know how to reign us in and keep us focused on the prize, since they've place "out of focus" announcements once we slide our fingers completely off the grid. Knowing you're completely off the target also gives the player a narrower focus on the puzzle, thereby making each challenge easier to solve.
The pure novelty of simian.interface only takes the app so far, but thanks to its compelling visual design as well as the organic ease of its game play, this is a more than worthy $0.99 download. Each stage has its own indelible beauty, and although some naysayers may gripe that the puzzles resemble a slew of screen savers, I'm looking at it in an entirely different light. This is an iOS experience that feels like it's either from another dimension or created by modern art lovers.
An intriguing trip into the unknown, simian.interface is a puzzler filled with delicious colors, sounds, and three dimensional shapes. Brain twisters come in all shapes and sizes, and this app will stay on my mind, at least until the next batch of simians come along.