Lightlands Cleverly Injects Efficiency Into Physics-Puzzling [Review]

Lightlands

Any old physics puzzler can ask you to fling a ball into a goal with a bunch of springs or conveyer belts whatever. And most of them don’t care how you get the ball there, as long as it does.

Lightlands by Torsten Winkler
Category: iOS Games
Works With: iPhone, iPad
Price: $0.99

But Lightlands thinks you can do better than that, and it encourages you to get the ball to its home along the most efficient route possible.

You can still go the “no pictures on scorecards” route and just get the thing to the other thing, but where’s the challenge in that?

Lightlands

Nowhere. That’s where.

You start with a screen, your ball, and a few tools to drag around. You can change the ball’s direction, speed it up, slow it down, and so on. You press the Go button when you’re ready and then see if it all works. It usually won’t because physics puzzles, but you can always try again with no load times. And that’s good news because the physics are so granular that you’ll often find yourself moving one of your pieces just a smidge up or down to get it to do what you need.

It’s a bit fiddly at times, but when it works, you feel like a genius.

Or a master of spheroid puppets. Either/or.

Once you’ve solved the puzzle, you can either move on to the next one or try to improve on your route. It displays your previous best on the meter at the top of the screen, which is a pretty elegant and nail-biting way to do that, and while I fall firmly in the “If I get it there, I win” camp, perfectionist types will be all set.

It also has some kidn of elaborate lore about saving your planet or something, but I kinda lost that thread in all those physics. I guess the ball is sentient? No idea. Just get it where it needs to go.

LightlandsGame Name: : Lightlands
The Good: Accurate physics, smart level design, and plenty to keep perfect-run seekers occupied and happy.
The Bad: The difference between a configuration that works and one that doesn’t is often inscrutable.
The Verdict: It’s fun and fiddly in a mostly good way.
Buy from: App Store – Lightlands – Torsten Winkler

Cult of Mac rating: 4/5

About the author

Evan KillhamEvan Killham lives in Nebraska and isn't interested in football, so he has plenty of time to play and think about video games. He has written for Bitmob and GamesBeat and sometimes, he even goes outside. But not too often because he's heard there are bees out there.

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