- Such a simple yet maddening puzzle concept.
- Watching everything flick into place is immensely satisfying.
- Strange UI and control choices.
- Lack of music.
Bipolar is a bare bones puzzle experience that is as enjoyable as it is frustrating.
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Now now, before anyone gets into an uproar, this is not a puzzle game based around the medical disorder. It's more like... well, do you know those chess puzzles in the newspaper that have a pre-set amount of pieces and you have to figure out how to checkmate in a certain number of moves? This is like that with the board game Othello... only not really. Each horizontal row needs to be the same color, and to make that happen, you draw a line across tiles with your finger so that when you press play, they all flip and the solution presents itself. It can be both extremely satisfying and head scratchingly frustrating.
The controls aren't the most intuitive, but you do get used to them. The first tile you tap is your starting point, and from there you can drag forward as well as reverse your choices. The tiles stay static until you either come across the solution or press the play button to see what movements you may have missed. Seeing that the game automatically flips the tiles when you've solved the puzzle, the play button is partially redundant, and the slider bar next to it which controls the speed that the flips occur at certainly is. If you wish to start in a new location or remove the green outlines from the board for a clearer picture, just tap the clear button; it's as simple as that.
Now the game is divided into packs, and each pack introduces a new mechanic, such as safe gray squares that don't flip, or arrows that will send flips outward from their location. Many of the early puzzles can seem quite imposing when first started, but like many great puzzle games, a little playing around combined with some logic forethought will turn these once imposing mosaics into a vanquished foe. This satisfaction of solving the puzzle is escalated by the sound and motion of the flicking tiles. While the sound is satisfying, the lack of music is an omission, as some dulcet tones could have greatly aided the solving of some of the harsher levels.
Puzzle fans who enjoy the mechanics of their puzzles more than the presentation should find a lot to enjoy in Bipolar. That's not to discount the sound effects, but this is as basic presentation wise as it gets, and the puzzle can seem imposing to even those that have been working through the ranks. The great concept and execution will excuse it for some.