Lyne
Gameplay 9
Graphics 8
Sound 7

LYNE is a simple, but addictive and quite challenging minimalist puzzle game. It takes a straightforward concept, connecting all the shapes on a grid, and turns it into a game that can become infinitely complex. Don’t worry, though, as LYNE features more than six hundred puzzles to ease you into things and thanks to the randomly generated daily puzzles, this is a game that offers an incredible amount of value for money. While it is definitely a game that is more suited for playing in short bursts on mobile, it doesn’t feel out of place on PC.

Gameplay: As the game states, LYNE is deceptively simple, but infinitely complex.

Graphics: Very minimal, but the focus is the puzzles and the visuals match the style of the game.

Sound: Also very minimal, but once again the audio is a good match for the relaxing atmosphere of LYNE

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Lyne

Developer: Thomas Bowker | Publisher: Thomas Bowker | Release Date: 2014 | Genre: Casual / Puzzle / Indie | Website: Official Website | Purchase: Steam

Thomas Bowker, the solo developer behind LYNE, describes his minimalist puzzle game as deceptively simple, but infinitely complex. This is a rather apt tag line for a game that is intuitive enough that anyone can grasp the basic goal within seconds, but with enough challenges to keep you busy for hours. All you have to do in LYNE is connect all the shapes on a grid shaped board, with the only rules being that the lines you use to do so must fill the entire board, but cannot intersect each other. Initially, this is easy enough to accomplish in a matter of seconds, but you’ll soon realize that with more than 600 levels, things does eventually become a lot more complicated.

There are a couple of things that LYNE throws at players in order to increase the difficulty as you progress. First is the fact that the amount of shapes that you have to connect increases, which makes it harder to avoid intersecting existing lines on the board when you have to create new connections. Second is the increasing number of octagonal blocks that begin appearing on the board. Unlike normal blocks, these are the only places that lines can cross on the grid, but only the amount of times that are indicated on the block. Initially these are quite handy, but as the boards become more complicated, the octagonal blocks more numerous and the amount of times you have to use each one of them more, they can become a huge pain. As frustrating as some of the levels can become, you never have to deal with penalties, timers or ratings, so it remains a surprisingly calming experience.

Our primary strategy in LYNE was to first connect all the shapes in the most straightforward manner possible and then begin tweaking the paths in an effort to fill the empty spots on the board. It is a method that served us quite well, but puzzle exports should be able to figure out the solutions without any trial and error. Shapes can be connected with vertical, horizontal as well as diagonal lines, but each has a designated start and end point. You also need to connect every shape of the same color with your line, hopefully without blocking your own path or that of another shape. You can stop halfway with a line to focus on a different color and the game also helpfully highlight paths that you have completed in white. In addition, you can retrace your path to undo bad moves or simply click on the starting point of your path to clear everything for that particular shape.

If you ever grow tired of the hundreds of pre-built puzzles that are included with the game, there is also an infinite number of procedurally generated ones that become available on a daily basis. These daily levels even follow a pattern, with Monday providing you with simple ones, while Wednesday is reserved for regular ones and Fridays comes with the most demanding puzzles. Most of these daily puzzles are just as good as the handcrafted ones and boosts the value for money even more. Overall, LYNE boasts an incredible amount of content for such a low asking price.

Like a lot of puzzle games these days, LYNE is actually a mobile release and it is quite obvious that the game was originally designed for touchscreen devices and not the PC. This is not really a bad thing, though, as the streamlined interface works quite well for a game of this type. The pastel visuals are basic and sparse, but fits the calm atmosphere of LYNE. As you complete levels you’ll earn points, which unlocks the next set of levels as well as new color palettes to choose from. The game doesn’t have much to offer in the way of options as you can only change the resolution from the launcher. In-game you are restricted to changing the language, resetting your data or disabling the sound. It’s not much, but then again this type of game doesn’t need a million graphical options to tweak.

Despite being designed for a touchscreen, LYNE is easy enough to play with a mouse. Lines can be drawn by either clicking on the shapes or by dragging the line where you want it to go. The latter feels the most intuitive, but can also cause the most fatigue if you spend long periods of time playing the game. The audio in LYNE is worth mentioning, as it is actually very soothing. Too many puzzle games make the mistake of using music and sound effects that are annoying or begin to grate after a while, but LYNE keeps things simple. Here the sounds are very ambient and actually based on the way you move your lines on the board, which is a neat effect.

Lyne is not a totally unique concept as we have seen games before that use the Numberlink style of logic puzzles, but this doesn’t prevent it from being a lot of fun. It certainly scratches that puzzle itch, but while it can be lots of fun in short bursts, it can also become a bit repetitive if played in long sessions. Thankfully, if you are stuck on a level you can usually try some of the other ones in the set or even a different set if you have unlocked them. This relieves some of the frustration of being stuck, but if you want all of the Steam Achievements in LYNE, then you are really going to have to earn them as the game doesn’t just dole them out for nothing. If you are a fan of puzzle games and have some loose pocket change, then you can’t go wrong with LYNE. It can provide you with hours of challenging puzzles and there are still people that are hooked on the daily puzzles, years after the release of the game. Of course, if you are not a puzzle fan, then you won’t find much here to change your mind, but everyone else should really check it out.

System Requirements

  • OS: Windows XP
  • Processor: 2.0 GHz Dual Core CPU
  • Memory: 1 GB RAM
  • Graphics: 256MB Graphics Card
  • DirectX: Version 9.0c
  • Storage: 150 MB available space
  • OS: OSX 10.6
  • Processor: 2.00GHz Dual Core CPU
  • Memory: 1 GB RAM
  • Graphics: 256MB Graphics Card
  • Storage: 150 MB available space
  • OS: Ubuntu
  • Processor: 2.00GHz Dual Core CPU
  • Memory: 1 GB RAM
  • Graphics: 256MB Graphics Card
  • Storage: 150 MB available space

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