Induction Review – A Major Mind Screw

Puzzles are a huge staple of my everyday life.  Rarely a day goes by that I’m not attracted to some puzzle to solve, usually from my page-a-day calendar.  I am regularly on the lookout for puzzle games to help satiate my addiction and flex my mental muscles.  When I came across Induction, I was intrigued by its simplicity, but despite it’s straightforwardness, it requires players to consider solutions that break the space-time continuum (and their brains).

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A Jump to the Left

The goal of each puzzle in Induction is obvious – move the cube across platforms to the target.  It’s a little like a platformer in three-dimensional space with obstacles preventing the cube from moving to its destination.  Cylinders can be moved onto sensors that construct bridges across gaps, while other bridges disappear after walking across them.  All of these hazards are arranged in a way that requires multiple cubes working in harmony to complete the level.  Except there is just one problem; players only have access to control a single cube.  

To overcome this limitation, players create time loops with the press of a button. Another cube will appear, and this new cube will repeat all the actions and pauses of the controllable cube from the start of the level until the beginning of the time loop.  When the time loop begins, bridges reset and objects from the previous timeline magically reappear in their original position.  However, this doesn’t destroy what originally happened and creates a merger between the past and present, providing enough help to get the original cube to its destination.

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A Real Mindbender

At first, the puzzles are simple enough and the solutions are straight forward.  The biggest challenge of the early puzzles is finding out how long to pause for the second cube.  It doesn’t take long though before the difficulty ramps up to controller throwing frustration after tackling a puzzle countless times. The solutions become more trial and error based until the correct sequence of steps is discovered. This is escalated as new concepts are added in later puzzles without any explanation.

Unfortunately, if stuck on a puzzle there is no way to move forward until the puzzle is solved. Occasionally, there is a branch off of the main path to a few alternate puzzles, but these are short diversions.  Should a player be stuck on a puzzle, there are no hints. The only options are to solve the puzzle or quit playing.

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Final Verdict

It’s rare to find a puzzle game with a new hook.  The concept of multiple timelines in a puzzle game makes Induction stand out.  The simple graphic style and pastel colors are inviting to unsuspecting players, like a candy house to Hansel and Gretel.  Induction slowly pulls in its victim with simple ideas and controls and then quietly punishes them. Personally, I don’t mind this approach, but the lack of hints and frustrating difficulty limit the accessibility for players.  Those easily frustrated may want to steer clear, but elation and euphoria await those that are up for the challenge.

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