Division Cell Wants You To Make Some Miserable Shapes Happy [Review]


Division Cell

We all aspire to be more than we are, to mold ourselves into our own perfect forms and escape the limits thrust upon us by circumstance or luck. But we can’t always do it on our own. Sometimes, we need someone to come along and nudge us in the right direction and help us achieve our full potential.

Division Cell by Hyperspace Yard
Category: iOS Games
Works With: iPhone, iPad
Price: $1.99

Division Cell is a metaphor for that. I think. I mean, it could be, I guess. It’s a minimalist puzzle game about helping unhappy shapes to become what they wish to be. See that rectangle? It really just wants to be a square. That irregular polygon over there? It looks at triangles with tears in its eyes and whispers “Why not me?” into the night.

Why wouldn’t you help them out? Jerk.

Division Cell presents you with some unfulfilled shapes and asks you to make them happy. You do this by tapping on them until they meet their potential. Dots on the shapes’ edges dictate what happens when you tap them: White dots make the shape expand, and black dots make it contract.

Before long, you realize that you have a lot to keep track of. Expanding or contracting one shape might affect its neighbor and possibly set you back. Success depends on reading the dots and foreseeing the consequences of each tap. Once you complete a level, the game gives you a score between one and three stars. You get one star each for completing the puzzle, using fewer moves than a “par” value, and beating the level within a set period of time.

You have a lot to keep track of.

I’m not the biggest fan of games constantly evaluating my performance (Capcom), but more competition-minded players will find a lot of value in going for maximum scores and challenging their friends using the game’s social media connectivity.

If Division Cell has one problem, it’s that it doesn’t do the best job of explaining its own mechanics. It tells you what you’re doing and how, but it leaves things like how taps affect non-touching shapes largely up to you to figure out. And I did figure it out, but in the meantime, I felt like that proto-human at the beginning of 2001: A Space Odyssey trying to figure out how to make the bone go.

Only with way fewer deadly bludgeonings, of course.

Division CellGame Name: Division Cell
The Good: Pretty, minimal graphics; good brain workout.
The Bad: Doesn’t quite explain itself well enough, and the constant evaluation gets a little stressful.
The Verdict Division Cell does a lot with a little, and it’ll make you feel equally smart and dumb. But mostly smart. I think.
Buy from:App Store